Japan's renewable energy budget for 1999 contains a substantial increase for wind energy. The New Energy Development Organisation (NEDO), a department steered by the Japanese ministry of trade and industry, has reserved ¥3.6 billion for wind projects in the public sector, compared with ¥1.9 billion last year. Wind projects developed by local government can apply for a 50% subsidy. The budget for wind demonstration projects has also been slightly increased-to ¥1.7 billion-and NEDO's subsidy pool for independent wind developments, which are eligible for a 33% capital subsidy, has been more than doubled, to ¥3.7 billion. Last year, a privately owned wind farm on Hokkaido built by trading company and energy developer Tomen, received about ¥1 billion in NEDO subsidies. The company is expected to get a similar amount this year. NEDO opens the gates for subsidy applications in April and expects to announce the winners by the end of May. With the rapidly growing interest in wind energy in Japan, it remains to be seen whether NEDO has reserved a large enough pool of cash to subsidise all new projects this year
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