Rising concern over slow pace of wind law review

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Progress on amending Germany's renewable energy law is moving too slowly, fears Jan Rispens of Bremen wind energy agency Windenergie-Agentur Bremerhaven/Bremen (WAB). Final decisions on the amendment must be made before the summer recess to enable the new law to come into effect in August, he stresses. "Only this will prevent a further strong decline in land-based wind energy over the coming years," he adds. "And only this will finally activate the orders for offshore projects." The new draft law, published for consultation in December, has had just one reading in parliament so far, in February, with a second and third still to come in June. Proposals to increase the government mandated power purchase rate for offshore wind to EUR 0.14/kWh have already been made and are "a good starting point," he says, noting many companies have reacted with investment decisions, project cooperation deals and supply agreements. Onshore wind is in trouble, however. "This is where the German parliament can and must take corrective action to prevent a further decline of the wind energy market in Germany," he says. The environment ministry published a progress report on the law last November. This suggests, says Rispens, that thanks to increases in raw material prices for wind turbines, an annual inflation rate of almost 3%, and an annual reduction in payments for output from new wind turbines coming online "by 2010 even the most up to date 2 MW turbines will hardly be able to operate economically, not even directly at the coast." Purchase rates for onshore wind "must be significantly raised to EUR 0.095/kWh," he says. "An annual inflation adjustment which works well in Spain and France must also be introduced."

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