A new power trading company, NaturEnergie, has been set up to sell exclusively renewables generated power, concentrating initially on hydro and photovoltaic sources. The new company is following on the heels of a similar venture, Naturstrom AG, founded in April and the first renewables power trading company in Germany (Windpower Monthly, May 1998). NaturEnergie says market research reveals that up to 8% of Germans are interested in buying pure green power and are prepared to pay 15% more to get it. The company expects its renewables electricity to cost DEM 0.06-0.08/kWh more than "normal" electricity. NaturEnergie will co-operate with municipal utilities to distribute the clean power to its customers. Although German legislation opened up the power sector to competition in April, federal wide trading is not yet possible because utilities have yet to decide charges for use of their grids. NaturEnergie, based in Grenzach-Wyhlen, was founded by two regional utilities with traditional supply areas in the south west corner of Germany: Kraftübertragungswerke Rheinfelden and Kraftwerke Laufenburg. The utilities, which generate 60% of their power from hydro, co-operate closely with one another and are owned by a consortium of German and Swiss companies, all of which have strong interests in trading electricity through their joint ownership of Elektrizitätswerke Laufenburg (EL). EL operates the major power dispatching centre known as the "Star of Laufenburg," which controls power movements between France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.
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