Town grants creative financial boost

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With more than two years of negotiations and plans behind it, a Belgian-German wind energy co-operative, Energie 2030, has inaugurated an Enercon 500 kW turbine at St Vith in Belgium and is now on the prowl for investors to buy shares in the turbine.

So far the town of St Vith has guaranteed an annual subsidy of BEF 800,000 for at least ten years. Originally the town had planned to pay an operating bonus of BEF 1.0/kWh from its electricity grid (Windpower Monthly, December 1996), but this would have pushed the local power prices higher than the legal limit. "So St Vith found a political solution," says Patrick Kelleter of Energie 2030. The town transformed the operating bonus for the expected generation of 800,000 kWh per year into a lump sum, paid as a yearly grant.

The state electricity utility, Electrabel, will pay its standard rate for renewables power of BEF 1.2/kWh, and local distributor Interost will pay another BEF 1.0/kWh for ten years. Energie 2030 will also receive a low interest loan of DM 200,000 from German wind company Windenergie Nordeifel. This money will help to bridge the financial gap until a grant promised by the Wallonian regional government of BEF 3 million is paid, says Kelleter.

The new "Fondation pour les générations futures," an ecological foundation in Namur, Belgium, has also pledged a low interest credit of BEF 1.5 million and will buy shares in the project worth BEF 200,000. Energie 2030 has placed advertisements in the "green" press to win new investors for the project.

The co-operative was founded in 1995 and is based both in Aachen in Germany and Eupen in Belgium (Windpower Monthly, December 1996).

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