After three years of negotiations, Germany's two main wind energy associations have merged to form the Bundesverband Windenergie (BWE). The Deutsche Gesellschaft Windenergie (DGW) and Interessenverband Windkraft Binnenland (IWB) agreed to the formation of a joint, federal association of operators and supporters of wind turbines aimed at "the lasting expansion of this ecological and economically necessary form of energy."
A shadow was cast over the merger, however, by a debt of DEM 30,000 which the DGW threatened to burden the new association with. DGW treasurer Martin Lawrenz apologised for what he called this error in the accounts for 1996, but the IWB was nonetheless concerned and requested the debt was covered. The DGW chose to acquire the money from a special fund of DEM 81,000, raised from its members specifically to pay for an expert report on the Electricity Feed Law.
In the light of this financial embarrassment, a question was raised over the agreement that BWE members not only receive their own magazine, but also the DGW magazine, Wind Energie Aktuell, for 12 months. Wind Energie Aktuell (WEA) is published by Winkra-Recom, a company owned by the former DGW chairman Uwe Carstensen. A suggestion was made that members should do without WEA, but Martin Lawrenz, head of Winkra-Recom as well as treasurer of DGW, pointed out that the agreement was the result of negotiations between the DGW and IWB and had the assent of both organisations. In view of the costs to the BWE and its members in sending out the two magazines, it was agreed that BWE members may formally decline to receive WEA.
The new chairman of the BWE is Peter Ahmels. Karl-Heinz Wurm and Heiko Schnackenberg are his deputies. Representatives from the wind industry and its component suppliers are excluded from posts on the board of BWE due to conflicts of interest which have arisen in the past, but they do have the opportunity to set up a separate sub-committee attached to the BWE.