Strategic delays to wind plant commissioning

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Wind project developers in Germany are starting to gamble on the government increasing its mandated purchase price for wind produced electricity later this year. Wind turbine commissioning is being tactically delayed so that owners can take advantage of the higher rate. Purchase prices in Germany are fixed by government for 20 years. Wind plant brought online in 2008 before the new rate comes into force will get EUR 0.083/kWh for the first years of operation at good sites, or for longer at sites with less favourable wind conditions, before the rate drops to EUR 0.051/kWh for the final years. After bitter complaints from the wind lobby that the starting rate, which drops by 2% for every year that passes, is now too low, environment minister Sigmar Gabriel has recommended an increase in the initial purchase price for wind production on land to EUR 0.091/kWh. That may not even be the last word on the matter, says Ralf Bischof of Bundesverband Windenergie, the German wind energy association. He believes an even higher rate could emerge from current talks.

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