On 1 April 2009 the German Federal Government passed a draft for a law relating to CCS measures (the German CCS Law). This draft was expected to come into force before the next general elections in September 2009. However, on 24 June 2009 the German Federal Government decided to postpone any decisions on the German CSS until after the general elections as the draft law has been subject to intensive and controversial discussions among the public and political and environmental organisations.
The German CCS Law will implement the German Carbon Dioxide Storage Act (Kohlendioxid-Speicherungsgesetz – KSpG), a new act, while amending other acts and ordinances, and it will also implement a number of Directives and Regulations. The Directives to be implemented are, inter alia, Directives 2000/60/EC, 2001/80/EC, 2004/35/EC and 2006/12/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006. Directive 2009/31/EC on the geological storage of CO2, which came into force in June 2009 as part of the so-called “climate change package” of proposals will also be implemented by the German CCS Law. The KSpG to be implemented by the German CCS Law deals with the transport of CO2 as well as its permanent and geological storage. The sequestration of CO2 itself will be covered by the Federal Emission Control Act (Bundesimmisionsschutzgesetz – BImSchG) and the ordinances thereto, which are also amended by the KSpG.
The implementation of the German CCS Law in Germany is highly disputed. Environmental organisations argue that the CCS technology is not yet well-developed and there is no empirical experience of, or evidence regarding the effects of, long-term storage of CO2 in geological formations. Moreover, it is controversial that the State of Germany should become responsible for the stored CO2 after the expiry of 30 years from the closure of the storage site as the risks have not been assessed yet and are therefore not foreseeable.
However, utility companies would like to see the law enacted as soon as possible in order to have legal certainty for the construction of CCS projects. 44 percent of the power produced in Germany is generated from coal plants; these produce greater amounts of CO2 than any other power-generation method. Utility companies are therefore extremely interested in the German CCS Law coming into force as they would then effectively be producing CO2-free power, since they would not need to buy any emission allowances for CO2 sequestered by the CCS projects.