Green funds in excess

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The prospect of income tax exemption for returns on capital placed in environmentally friendly investment funds has proved so attractive to Dutch savers that the amount of capital available now exceeds the number of qualifying projects. To remedy this situation, the Dutch government and representatives of banks operating "groen fonds" schemes are currently discussing a relaxation of the project qualification criteria. Speaking during the World Sustainable Energy Trade Fair held in Amsterdam in late May, Bart Krouwel of the Dutch Rabobank revealed that an extension of the regulations to permit investment in overseas projects is almost certain. A decision on which countries and what kind of projects will qualify under the new regulations is expected with the conclusion of the talks in August. The wind industry in general can expect to benefit from any relaxation in criteria as wind is rated second only to organic agriculture as a preferred investment option. However, as if to prove that the spirit of Calvin is alive and well in the Netherlands, it is possible to be too attractive: under the current regulations projects can be excluded if their return on investment is too high.

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