Greenpeace protests against closure of green market to foreign producers

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Greenpeace Belgium has joined with environmental group Bond Beter Leefmilieu to campaign against the closure of the Flemish green power market to foreign producers. The decision by the Flemish government to allow only locally produced green power free passage over the region's low voltage grid -- effectively pricing green power produced abroad out of the market -- is not the best means of stimulating renewable energy production, say the campaigners. They argue that discriminating against green power produced abroad will be a "huge missed opportunity" and that local renewable energy production can be better stimulated by removing a number of obstacles currently faced by domestic renewables producers, such as planning restrictions. One such regulation stipulates that turbines can only be built on agricultural land if half the power generated is used for agriculture. Pricing foreign power out of the market means that Flemish householders, free to choose their electricity supplier from July, will have no clean choice says Greenpeace. Wattplus, the Belgian subsidiary of Dutch power giant Essent, whose plans to sell green power imported from Holland have been thwarted by the new ruling, is in the process of appealing to Belgium's highest administrative court, says director Andre Jurres.

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