Wind lobby wins big hand in political poker match

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A political poker match in the Danish parliament ended last month with the wind lobby winning a big hand. All political parties agreed on a ten year premium price subsidy for wind turbine output. This latest amendment to Denmark's Electricity Reform Bill secures a base payment of DKK 0.33/kWh (EUR 0.044/kWh) for all wind turbines-including existing machines-in the first ten years of their lifetime, with immediate effect. The agreement is part of the transitional arrangements for the replacement of Denmark's subsidised wind market with a commercial one, driven by a requirement on all consumers to buy a fixed percentage of power from renewable sources. Since March, when the market overhaul was first announced, construction of new turbines in Denmark has come to a near halt while the details of the new market structure have been hammered out in all-party negotiations. The wild card that won the cross party deal was a relaxation of the bill's CO2 emission targets for heavy industry and coal power plant. "This is a happy ending to the most hectic period in the history of modern wind power," says Flemming Tranæs of the Danish Wind Turbine Owners Association. In addition to the base payment for ten years, wind turbine operators are to receive DKK 0.10/kWh-a refund of Denmark's CO2 tax on energy-as well as a production subsidy of DKK 0.17/kWh, depending on the turbine size and the number of full load hours operated (Windpower Monthly, April 1999). The production subsidy and the base subsidy will be phased out and replaced with a system of green credit trading-the details of which are still being decided.

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