Negotiators still locked in combat

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Negotiations in Holland for a national pricing policy for electricity from wind plant still appear to be locked in a vicious circle of inactivity. Attempts by the director general for energy, Stan Dessens, to get the talks moving again seem to be over before they had a chance to begin.

Dessens was ordered in as mediator by his minister, Koos Andriessen of the Economic Affairs ministry, who in March was urged by Parliament to take action on the pricing issue. The negotiating partners, EnergieNed, representing the electricity distributors, and Pawex, representing the wind turbine owners, have been locked in combat for over four years and even state arbitrators have not been able to help.

Last month representatives from Pawex paid Dessens a visit, but EnergieNed chose to remain aloof. The distributors say there is no need for intervention in the negotiations at ministerial level. They want to continue on the arbitration route. Earlier this year the arbitration committee had referred the issue back to the negotiating parties, saying they should be able to settle the small differences between them. Dessens was called in when these talks failed.

While all the involved parties now sit and eye each other suspiciously from a safe distance, wind turbine owners in the Netherlands continue to receive widely differing payments for their electricity -- all dependent on the geographical location of their machines and which distributor they are selling their electricity to.

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