Cheap loans from KfW bank to counter credit crunch

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Germany's wind industry has welcomed news that state-owned bank KfW, a long time major lender to the wind sector, is improving support conditions for the renewable energy sector to counter the currently more restrictive loan policy of commercial banks. Although the final details have yet to be wrapped up, says the bank's Charis Pöthig, KfW's limit on cheap loans is increasing from EUR 10 million to EUR 50 million from this year while payback timescales are also being extended. A federal guarantee is also being introduced to reduce the risk for banks, adds the environment ministry. German wind lobby Bundesverband Windenergie (BWE) says the new support allows a continuing expansion of onshore wind, noting that projects for replacement of old turbines with new should be better able to secure finance. It hopes commercial banks will also act. "The [commercial] banks must now follow the example of the KfW and make funds available to the wind industry at reasonable conditions," says BWE's Hermann Albers. Projects due for implementation in the first half of 2009 are mostly financed, but projects slated for after then are finding things tough. "Individual banks have withdrawn from project financing or require higher equity input from the project companies," BWE says.

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