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Germany

Germany

NEW UTILITY ATTACK, GERMANY,

Another utility assault on the EFL is in the works, this time spearhead by giant Preussenelektra, warns the association for the promotion of inland wind power, IWB. According to IWB, the utilities intend to order an immediate stop to payments for renewables power at the premium price stipulated by the EFL. Preussenelektra says it is seeking a quick political solution to the "considerable competitive disadvantage" of utilities in windy areas because of the EFL.

Another utility assault on Germany's Electricity Feed Law (EFL) is in the works, this time spearhead by giant Preussenelektra, warns the association for the promotion of inland wind power, IWB. According to IWB, the utilities intend to order an immediate stop to payments for renewables power at the premium price stipulated by the EFL. The purpose is to shake the renewables sector so badly it will drop new development and abandon existing turbines, says the IWB, condemning the plan as an organised violation of national law.

Petra Uhlmann of Preussenelektra says the utility is primarily seeking a quick political solution to the "considerable competitive disadvantage" of utilities in windy areas because of the EFL. However, if no progress is made with the politicians, the utility is prepared to take a lengthier legal route and provoke a court case by not paying the full rate for power from a specific renewables plant.

If Preussenelektra goes ahead with this threat, it will be the second utility to turn to the courts for a ruling on the EFL. Badenwerk in southern Germany is trying the same ploy against a hydro operator which is paid under the EFL, but also sells some power to third parties. Badenwerk argues the hydro operator is thus behaving as a utility -- and the EFL does not apply to utilities. Uhlmann explains this grievance is not the same as Preussenelektra's complaint about "the one-sided burden on customers in the north of Germany," making another recourse to law a necessity.

According to Uhlmann the "additional costs to Preussenelektra and its subsidiaries" of EFL wind payments -- after subtracting avoided fuel costs -- will be DEM 1.2 billion from 1994 to 1998. This prediction is based on an expansion of wind energy in the three northern states to around 2500 MW by 2005.

Interestingly, Preussenelektra and the Norwegian Statkraft have no qualms about spending about DEM 1 billion on a 600 MW, 500 kilometre undersea link to give Preussenelektra better access to Norway's most abundant renewable energy, hydro power.

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