The economics of wind turbines have significantly improved in recent years, but the cost reduction required to match traditional primary energies is still considerable. This is the verdict of the German national committee of the World Energy Council in its assessment of wind energy in 1997. "The period of time leading to the moment when renewable energies make a substantial contribution to supplying Germany's primary energy needs is much longer than the expectations often discussed in the public arena today," states the committee. In the long term, renewable energies are expected to increase their contribution by 60% from 23 TWh in 1996, representing 6% of public electricity supply. Renewables' contribution to primary energy consumption will, at 2%, remain small, though. The committee assumes that the current relatively favourable political climate for wind continues.