Renewables had little to be happy about when the government presented the 1996 national budget. It held no solution as to how wind energy will increase from 1% to 3% of electricity consumption in the Netherlands by 2000 -- a goal set by economic affairs minister, Hans Wijers. Means for achieving this goal are vague in the budget proposal, with only one instrument for market stimulation referred to: renewables will be exempted from a new ecotax on energy. Wijers also refers to tax breaks for investment in clean energy which he hopes will spur wind development, too. For wind energy research, the budget allots DFL 8.6 million. Research institutions, headed by the national laboratory, Energy Centre Netherlands (ECN) in Petten, are supposed to co-operate with industry to create a so-called technology cluster -- a branch of industry with a basis in research infrastructure. Later, some wind research money will be directed offshore.
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