The revision of the country's energy law, ElWOG, gave the wind sector a boost by targeting 4% of the country's electricity to be generated from renewables by 2007 (Windpower Monthly, October 2000). The law will take effect in October after the country's nine Länder have agreed on regional regulations and renewable energy feed-in tariffs (REFITs). Grid operators will then have to take all renewables and combined-heat-and-power generated electricity onto their networks and pay a premium price for it.
The law says the percentage of renewables generated electricity included in the mix sold to customers must begin at 1% this year, rising a percentage point every two years until 2007. Hantsch describes the new REFIT law as "the foundation to further growth in the renewables sector."
Enthusiasm has been dampened by a development in the leading wind state, Lower Austria, however, where all last year's new wind plant installations are located. The state governor wants to limit the amount of wind generated electricity to 2%, a cap that would allow only another 40 MW of wind in the state on top of the 61 MW already generating. IGW is gearing up for legal action to head off the proposed cap.