Tax ruling slows wind growth

The German state of Schleswig-Holstein is lobbying to have an April 2007 federal tax court ruling -- which abolished financial incentives for parishes that make room for wind turbines within their borders -- overturned. Prior to the ruling, the parish where a wind farm is located and the parish where the owner is based were able to share their share of the trade on wind power sales. Now only the parish where the owners lives, not where the turbines are located, can benefit. Germany's wind energy association, Bundesverband Windenergie, confirms that since the court judgement, interest among parishes in hosting a wind farm or in providing support for replacing old existing turbines with newer models "has dropped noticeably." Hans-Josef Fell, energy spokesman for Germany's opposition Green Party adds: "Experts have confirmed to us that this endangers the future expansion of renewable energies." Schleswig-Holstein's finance ministry wants the old system reinstated. It is pushing for a clear split in tax income to a fixed 50/50 division between the parish where the wind station is built -- "to allay infrastructure costs and as an incentive to allow more wind developments within their boundaries" -- and the parish where the wind plant owner is located. The Green Party is not only supporting the financing ministry's request, but is also pressing for an amendment to be included in the Annual Tax Act 2009 that credits parishes hosting a wind farm with 90% of the tax on wind power sales.