Minimum renewables quota criticised

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Renewable energy associations have criticised the contents of a revision of Austria's electricity law, ELWOG, which suggests setting a quota for the minimum volume of renewables in the national electricity supply backed by a system for certifying green power. The amendment has been drafted by the new conservative OVP/FPO coalition government primarily to fully open the country's electricity market by October 2001 and replace the slower step-by-step liberalisation process in force since August 1998. The revised law was expected to take effect on July 1. In a joint statement, the associations for wind, biomass, and small hydro, and the federal association for renewable energy say: "We cannot accept tradeable certificates because they do not provide sufficient investment security for the producer and operator. In the whole of Europe there is not one functioning example of trade with green certificates." Instead, the associations demand a system of guaranteed quotas and minimum tariffs, similar to the new Erneuerbare Energien Gesetz legislation in neighbouring Germany. The ELWOG revision sets a 3% target for renewables and 7% hydro, but without a compliance date. Although the proposed revision says that Austrian energy policy is committed to strengthening renewables, there is no mention of an increase in percentage for future years, adds Stefan Hantsch of the wind association.

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