Town guarantees annual subsidy


The Belgian town of St Vith has taken the momentous step of guaranteeing an annual subsidy to a German-Belgian company, Genossenschaft Energie 2030, for the operation of a wind turbine with a rated capacity of up to 600 kW. Having worked for a year to obtain this commitment, Genossenschaft hopes the pilot project will bump start wind energy in inland Belgium. St Vith is even to make municipal resources available for the construction of the project's access road and turbine foundations. Until now, Belgium's dependence on nuclear for over 60% of its power requirements, coupled with poor payment for electricity from renewable sources, have restricted wind development. Wind energy operators would normally only receive the equivalent of DEM 0.11/kWh for the first ten years of operation and DEM 0.06/kWh thereafter, compared with DEM 0.172/kWh in Germany, points out Helmut Hardy, managing director of Energie 2030. The company is a cross-border co-operative society based both in Aachen in Germany and Eupen in Belgium. It has already completed one wind project of Micon turbines at Herhahn near the Rursee lake, carried out by Windenergie Nordeifel, a founding member of the society.