Wind subsidies to remain static but renewables funding to increase

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Before he suddenly left office at the end of September, Norway's oil and energy minister Odd Roger Enoksen said the subsidy to wind power developers would stay at NOK 0.08/kWh (EUR 0.01) for the foreseeable future. Raising the subsidy would eat up too large a portion of revenues from the NOK 30 billion (EUR 3.8 billion) Enova fund for renewables, he said. The fund's interest income is used to boost renewable energy and energy efficiency projects domestically. The government, however, promises it will deliver a climate action plan soon and suggests that Enova's budget be boosted, so that proceeds are doubled for 2008 from the current NOK 700 million (EUR 90 million) to NOK 1.4 billion, to eventually reach NOK 2.1 billion in 2012. It also says Norway's municipalities should create individual plans on how to develop regional wind resources. Environmentalists and wind supporters say they hope Enoksen's replacement, Aaslaug Haga, will mark a change in Norway's energy politics. Haga says her priority will be speeding up "the work to promote renewable energy." She was previously minister for local government and regional development as well as leader of the Centre Party before taking over Enoksen's post. Norway's red-green coalition government, headed by Labour prime minister Jens Stoltenberg, found itself losing pubic support in recent mid-term elections, due in part, analysts said, to its failure to deliver coherent policy plans on environment and climate change. In a pre-election newspaper poll, only one of four voters thought the government had a very good or good climate policy. Nine of ten wanted more investment in wind, solar and biomass, while seven of ten believed Norway should make CO2 cuts at home rather than buy emission credits abroad.

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