Positive revisions of renewable energy law

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Market support for wind power is to be increased in Germany under planned revisions by the federal environment ministry to the country's renewable energy law. First, the annual digression in the fixed purchase price for onshore wind power (EUR 0.0819/kWh in 2007) is to be reduced to 1% instead of the current 2% for new wind plant; the price applicable in the first year of operation will continue be paid for 20 years. Second, onshore wind plant installed between 2009 and the end of 2013 that meet new technical standards for grid compatibility will receive an extra EUR 0.007/kWh incentive; it will also apply "for a limited period" to turbines installed before 2002 that are refurbished to meet the new standards. Third, the ministry is proposing improved incentives for replacement of old plant with new by abolishing the condition that plant are only eligible if commissioned before 1996 and instead requiring that they have operated for at least ten years. It also says repowering should see capacity at least double, rather than triple as under today's regulation. For offshore wind the EUR 0.0874/kWh rate set for 2009 is to increase to EUR 0.11-0.14/kWh, while the start for annual decreases in offshore rates is pushed back from 2008 to 2013. But the proposal is for the decrease in the annual rate to be raised from the current 2% to 5-7%. "By that time sufficient plant will have been installed and experience gained to justify a reduction in payments," says the government. On transmission, it is proposed that system operators be obliged to ensure the maximum take-up of renewable energies, but with permission to control output to ease bottlenecks. The government expects the revised law to take effect in 2009.

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