New eco-power law bad news for wind says industry

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Austria's new eco-power law, approved by parliament last month and due to take effect in October, is bad news for wind power, says the industry association IG Windkraft. There is a "significant worsening" of support arrangements, it says, warning that new installations are likely to fall to 50-70 MW a year. The law, which aims for 10% of Austria's electricity to come from renewables by 2010, provides support for renewables of EUR 17 million a year until 2011. Wind, biogas and biomass plant are each allocated 30% of this funding, while the remaining 10% will go to other renewables such as photovoltaics. Standard offer feed-in tariffs, to be set afresh each year, will be cut annually for new projects. The full tariff price will be paid for ten years, falling to 75% of that price in the eleventh year and either 50% or the standard market price paid in the twelfth year. Beyond that, energy companies are obliged to buy wind power at the market price minus the costs of balancing power -- this arrangement also applies to existing operational wind stations that have already received a fixed tariff for up to 13 years. Significantly, payments will only be available as long as there is money in the annual funding pot. Developers must apply for a power purchase contract with the eco-electricity administration office, Ökostromabwicklungsstelle. If the support fund is empty, the applicant is put on a one year waiting list, but if they are again unsuccessful at the end of the year the company has to make a fresh application.

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