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Upper House of Germany's Parliament Passes Renewable Energy Law

The Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany.

Germany’s government is looking to move away from its dependence on nuclear and fossil fuels with a bill passed Friday in the upper house of its parliament.

The bill passed after months of tough negotiations, including exchanged blows between Berlin and Brussels, a European Commission probe, and the EU’s concern that German renewable energy firms had unfairly benefitted from clean energy subsidies in the past.

One of the bill’s main goals is to deal with side effects from the government’s plan to replace nuclear energy with renewable sources in the near future. While this shift in policy has lead to a green energy boom in Germany, many businesses are unhappy with the rising power costs they have faced.

The bill itself lowers subsidies for green energy farms across the board, ranging from small rooftop solar installations

The EU had previously expressed concerns that companies importing electricity into Germany were being treated unfairly in the form of a surcharge the government equated to a customs duty. As a response, the government decided that imported renewable energy would be treated the same as energy locally produced.

Germany power companies will have to contribute to a fund that subsidizes renewables and 350 companies will have to pay back a total of €30 million, or $40.8 million, for unfair aid the commission found they received in both 2013 and 2014.

The bill will take effect on the first of August and German President Joachim Gauck is expected to sign the legislation without conflict. 

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