Wrong on German financing

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The spokespersons for institutional funds quoted in your story, German Financing Revolution (Windpower Monthly, November 2004), are not only foolish but also wrong in announcing their "common sense" victory over citizen investors in Germany. They are wrong because the enthusiasts and the grass roots wind power sector is represented by the Bürgerwindparks, the citizen-owned wind farms, and the farmer co-operatives, which are still succeeding in organising projects despite the faster-than-inflation decline in the fixed rates of pay for wind power set by the German government.

The Bürgerwindparks, in contrast to the high-income earner (tax offset) funded schemes which were discussed in the article, are financed by citizens on average incomes who are enthusiastic about wind power. These projects, as well as the farmer-owned projects, are noted for their low costs and are continuing to be developed.

Nevertheless, the demise of the tax-offset schemes is hardly to be welcomed, for it is a consequence of the reduction in the power purchase rates for wind power that was urged by the German electricity industry. My research indicates that once you take the difference in wind speeds into account, returns per MW are much lower under the German system compared to say, the UK's Renewable Obligation. I really do hope that the big banks can save the day, but I fear that their lack of pressure for a better power purchase rate makes them more part of the problem rather than part of the solution in Germany.

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