Austria busy and optimistic

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In 2002 Austria saw 28 turbines with a combined capacity of 45 MW installed, bringing the country's wind capacity to 139 MW -- enough to generate around 250 GWh a year and meet the annual energy requirements of around 70,000 homes. The 28 wind turbines are a significant increase on the 16 (17 MW) installed in 2001. The most notable development in 2002 was the world's highest altitude wind turbine at Oberzeiring, standing 2332 metres above sea level, which came online in December. This consists of 11 Vestas 1.65 MW V66 turbines.

To date most wind power developments have taken place in the state of Lower Austria, which has 84.2 MW (106 turbines) installed. The other states lag far behind, the closest being Steiermark with 20.6 MW (13 turbines), Burgenland with 18.4 MW (20 turbines) and Upper Austria with 10.6 MW (15 turbines).

Burgenland, however, could soon leap up the league table after a commitment by energy company Burgenländische Elektrizitätswirtschafts-Aktiengesellschaft to invest EUR 200 million in wind in coming years. Company directors Hans Likits and Günter Ofner welcome the eco-electricity law, Ökostromgesetz, introduced at the start of 2003 with a wind energy tariff of EUR 0.078/kWh. "The Ökostromgesetz has made wind power a calculable risk," they say. Furthermore, Austrian wind association IG Windkraft anticipates that as much as 100 MW could come online this year.

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