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Czech Republic

Czech Republic

Series of projects in planning -- Czech Republic on the move

Wind power in the Czech Republic shows signs of taking off this year. Following last year's bankruptcy and auctioning off of the country's only notable wind installation -- a 3 MW plant using six Vestas 500 kW turbines near Ölmütz -- things are now looking up.

In one major vote of confidence in the Czech market, a new stock holding company, Proventi, was established by four local engineering companies and Danish turbine manufacturer NEG Micon. The company says it will invest CZK 11 billion (EUR 347 million) between August 2003 and September 2005 on wind installations in the Erzgebirge mountains. A total of 149 turbines with a combined capacity of 223 MW, two substations and one power switching station are to be built in Midinec, Vysluni, Koimov, and Nová Ves. These developments alone will bring the Czech Republic's wind capacity level with Sweden, Proventi claims. A further 76.5 MW is also planned for a subsequent phase, the company adds.

Hordes of developers

Another deal agreed last autumn will see Enercon supply two E40 600 kW turbines to the parish of Jindrichovice pod Smrkem in the country's north Bohemia region. They will be installed in the second quarter of 2003, Enercon International in Bremen confirms. Jindrichovice mayor, Petr Pavek, recently told the Czech news service CTK: "Financing of the project worth CZK 84 million (EUR 2.7 million) has been secured and we have the building permit."

Other companies are lining up to get involved in the country's wind development, according to Andreas Dimter, project planner at WEB, an Austrian wind developer based in Pfaffenschlag with a subsidiary in Vetrna in the Czech Republic. "There are hordes of wind development companies, many of them from Germany, fighting for claims in the windy Erzgebirge region," he says. "Altogether projects totalling 70-80 MW are in the development phase in the Czech Republic." WEB is developing several small projects and "one very big one," which he declines to discuss at present for commercial reasons.

A wind energy feed-in tariff of CZK 3.0/kWh (EUR 0.095/kWh), introduced by the government in November 2001, is the driving force behind the new wind activity. "No one knows how long this feed-in tariff will exist, but we are confident the government will not scrap it, especially in view of the Czech Republic's accession to the EU," Dimter says. "Developing wind installations is a risk, but it's a limited risk," he adds.

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