Right wing warms to renewables

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By 2010 most of Germany's nuclear power station capacity will have been decommissioned, requiring renewable technologies and energy saving to have made up the difference. So states none other than a right wing spokesman for environment and energy, Kurt-Dieter Grill of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). He has drawn up a national action programme for renewables based on the assumption that these energy forms are important for the whole world and will therefore contribute to Germany's industrial base. He points out that over the years, nuclear power has received DEM 35-40 billion in state support, while coal has reaped over DEM 200 billion from the public purse. Renewables must also receive adequate support, he insists. Efforts at market introduction must be continued alongside a new, concentrated research programme worth DEM 1-1.5 billion for improving technical efficiency and reducing costs. Grill is against the Electricity Feed Law's subsidy of operating costs and says utilities, the federal and länder governments and citizens should all pay into a national fund for renewable energy development. The utilities should draw on their massive tax-free reserves laid up for nuclear decommissioning, Grill suggests, while individuals could invest in bonds linked to interest payments. The federal and state governments could draw on savings from coal subsidies.

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