Green tax reform signals hope ahead

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An ecological tax reform which could benefit wind energy is under discussion in the Swiss parliament. The lower house suggests an "energy tax" of CHF 0.06/kWh (EUR 0.04/kWh) on fossil fuel generation, and the upper house calls for a "support tax" of CHF 0.02/kWh on all non-renewables. Both houses agree the money raised would be invested in new renewables. For a transition period-until the government makes up its mind-a tax of about CHF 0.03-0.04/kWh is likely to be approved by a plebiscite next year, reports Robert Horbaty of the wind energy program at the Bundesamt für Energie, the federal energy office. Meanwhile, Horbaty says low utility payments and low state support make wind plant operation uneconomic (Windpower Monthly, February 1999). Juvent SA, which operates four turbines on Mount Crosin, has now stopped all plans for further development. "We have to look to the future and avoid generating power for which demand does not exist," says Jakob Vollenweider of Juvent, owned by utility Berne Kraftwerke. Juvent currently makes ends meet with the help of sponsors who buy the wind power at a premium price.

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