Tax rule back to favouring parishes with turbines

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New tax rules in Germany rubberstamped by the federal parliament at the end of November will see local parishes in which wind farms are built receive 70% of the tax on revenues from sale of wind power to the grid. Under the Annual Tax Act 2009, the remaining 30% will go to parishes where the wind project owner is based. Parishes may also draw up their own agreements on division of the tax if they so wish. The decision is a major victory for the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, which had lobbied to overturn an April 2007 federal tax court ruling that abolished the financial incentives for parishes where wind plant are built (Windpower Monthly, November 2008). That 2007 ruling had seen a drop in local support for wind projects. For Schleswig-Holstein and the supporters of its campaign, the new ruling is better than expected. They had lobbied for a return to the previous 50/50 split of the tax between parishes. The wind industry has welcomed the change. "Along with the revised renewable energy law which takes effect at the start of 2009, the framework conditions for continued expansion of wind energy are right," says the federal wind association Bundesverband Windenergie.

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