Making the most of liberalisation

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A debate over the pros and cons of founding a separate utility in Germany to sell renewables generated power in a liberalised energy market is taking place in the pages of Windblatt, a small German newsletter. Jörgen Krömeke, a former member of Greenpeace Aachen, suggests decentralised small power generators, such as wind, photovoltaics, hydro and biomass, should join forces in an "eco-utility."

Once liberalisation has taken place and renewables operators can be connected via the grid, consumers could buy their power directly from the eco-utility, Krömeke argues. The eco-utility's tariffs could be weighed according to ecological factors. The green company would attract environmentally conscious consumers and industry with low power consumption and interest in developing a "clean" image.

Krömeke's idea is firmly rejected by Wolf von Fabeck of solar energy organisation Solarenergieförderverein in Aachen. Fabeck argues that all power consumers should pay for clean power, not just an idealistic minority. "The expansion of wind energy in Schleswig-Holstein would never have been possible on the basis of voluntary green tariff customers," he says. "Environmental associations should stick to their main task of making sure power is generated without damage to the environment, not ape the traditional utilities and supply the population with power." Green tariffs, adds Von Fabeck, are a utility scheme for avoiding involvement in renewables.

Windblatt provides news on renewable energy developments in and around the Aachen area for the members of four renewable energy organisations.

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