The Austrian wind energy organisation Interessengemeinschaft Windkraft Österreich (IG Windkraft) is again up in arms over the proposed amendment, which once more includes a cap of EUR 17 million a year in support for new wind plant and other renewable energies (with the exception small hydro) to 2011. Of this, wind would be expected to get around 30%, or EUR 5.1 million -- enough for less than 60 MW of development a year, says Stefan Hantsch of IG Windenergie. Moreover, the funds will be distributed to projects on a first-come, first-served basis, "giving no legal or investment security," says IG Windkraft, arguing the amendment "amputates eco-electricity."
In addition, new tariff rates for renewables are still to be set. "All we know is the rates will be fixed anew each year, to run for ten years at the 100% rate, before dropping to 75% in the 11th year and 50% in the 12th year, which could mean they fall below the market price," says IG Windkraft's Stefan Moidl.
Parliament is expected to make a decision on the amendment within the next few months. Even so, the amendment may be blocked by the European Commission. Austrian support for renewables is partly financed through a levy on the consumer price of power irrespective of whether the electricity is generated at home or abroad, while renewables support is granted only to plant installed in Austria -- a market distortion that at least in spirit breaks EU rules on public aid. The Commission may well have the final say on Austria's renewables law.