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The North Rhine Westfalia (NRW) renewables support programme, REN, has been expanded from November 1,1994 to include cheap loans for renewables projects costing more than DEM 1 million. The loans will be available for 50% of the eligible project costs with interest up to 5% lower than the normal market rate. They will run for 11 years with a redemption-free period of one year. The cheap credit can be applied for through normal High Street banks. Applicants must be based in the state of North Rhine Westfalia, but local authorities, utilities and others with an annual turnover of more than DEM 250 million are not eligible. The NRW economy ministry says the extension of REN is a reflection of the increasing significance of rational energy use in NRW and the increasing size, and therefore cost, of renewable energy power plant. "We are supporting this positive development with the introduction of support for loans. The many enquiries allow us to anticipate a good reception for this new offer," says the ministry. Small renewables and rational energy projects costing up to DEM 1 million have been eligible for the REN programme since it began in 1988. Over the last seven years 13,000 projects costing DEM 750 million have been supported with DEM 160 million.

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