Hungary's first wind turbine is planned to go up

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Hungary will be getting its first wind turbine this month. A 600 kW Enercon E40 machine is planned for erection near the village of Kulcz, 50 kilometres south of Budapest, by E.on Energie Ungaria, the Hungarian subsidiary of German energy giant E.on Energie. "This project shows that despite the trend to ever larger wind stations, Enercon is still interested in installations of single turbines," says Juanita Fromme of Enercon. The turbine is expected to generate about 1.5 million kWh annually, sufficient power for 750 households. In 1999, Hungarian engineer Balazs Stelczer founded the country's first wind company, Elso Magyar Szeleroma, and began wind measurements in late 1999. When it became clear that payments for wind energy were too low for him to realise the project alone, Stelczer approached E.on, which agreed to buy a 50% stake in his company and help to finance the wind turbine. The Hungarian government is also contributing 40% of the HUF 200 million (EUR 775,000) investment, of which half comprises an interest-free loan. Wind generated electricity in Hungary is eligible for just HUF 10/kWh (EUR 0.039/kWh), just under half the premium rate paid in Germany. Rates could be raised under new legislation to HUF 15/kWh this year. "That is the point when the banks become interested and ready to make loans available," says Stelczer.

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