At last month's Hannover renewables congress, the ministry's permanent under-secretary, Heinrich Kolb, defended the low budget -- which conflicts directly with the government's policy of supporting renewables. He pointed out that cash allocations for renewables in the federal budget have increased at a rate seldom seen for other sectors -- from DEM 10 million in one year to DEM 100 million spread over the next three. His explanations were met with considerable scepticism by delegates. "Ridiculously small," was the widespread verdict.
The government still favours the introduction of a CO2/energy tax with two provisos, continued Kolb. The tax must be introduced Europe-wide and be fiscally neutral.