Government support for wind to continue

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Support for wind and other renewables will continue under Germany's coalition government, confirms the country's environment minister Sigmar Gabriel, announcing an increase in research and development (R&D) funding and plans to deal with wind integration issues and permitting delays. Noting the central role wind energy already plays in renewables' current contribution of nearly 10% to electricity generation, due to rise to 20-25% by 2020, Gabriel stresses that expansion of renewables "will not be slowed during his time in office." Renewables R&D spending will increase from nearly EUR 86 million in 2005, of which 23% or EUR 18 million went to wind energy, to nearly EUR 100 million in 2009, when the four year term of the Conservative/Social Democrat coalition government comes to an end. Gabriel plans to tackle difficult issues such as expanding the high voltage transmission network for wind energy, especially offshore projects. He is due to present a draft "acceleration law" to speed permitting. The new law could include provisions to allow network operators to lay underground transmission cables in sensitive areas, the ministry says, noting the protests of many parishes and district councils against high voltage pylons in residential and landscape protection areas.

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