Furore following proposal to remove obligation on utilities to buy wind

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Shock waves are rolling through the Danish wind sector following a government proposal to remove the purchase obligation on utilities to buy wind power output, one of the founding elements of the wind market. The proposal is part of the power sector's transition to a liberalised market, under which all electricity consumers will be obliged to demonstrate they have secured a fixed portion of their electricity from renewables through the ownership of green certificates. The proposed change away from the utility purchase obligation applies to sales of electricity from existing turbines once these have been operating for more than ten years and to new turbines installed from January 2003. Instead, wind turbine owners must join together and secure long term agreements with a distributor or other buyer, says Jesper Stryhn from system operator Eltra. Those who do not would find themselves in trouble, he says. While the Danish wind turbine owners association is mainly worried about what the change in law could mean for owners of existing turbines, Christian Kjær of the Danish industry association points out that without a utility purchase obligation, wind producers are at the mercy of the inherent penalties of the balancing market. He adds: "The signal that Denmark is breaking so sharply with 20 years' environmental and energy policy would be alarming, because it would be interpreted as a break from everything which Denmark has successfully worked towards -- in the EU, for example," adds Kjær.

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