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Germany

Germany

TELEVISION DOCUMENTARY ACCUSATIONS

Germany learned of suspected irregularities in the Joule project grading procedure from a television documentary by "Monitor." To illustrate how documents had apparently been secretly altered by the Commission it reported on a proposal from Tacke Windtechnik, showing purported "before and after" changes to expert evaluations.

Germany -- and an unsuspecting Tacke Windtechnik -- learned of suspected irregularities in the Joule project grading procedure from a television documentary by "Monitor," a serious but popular investigative programme on Germany's number one channel. In a report on the current harsh climate for solar energy in Germany, a six minute slot was included on allegations of document falsification in the Joule III selection procedure.

The programme reported on a Tacke Joule proposal to look at an innovative direct drive generator for large wind turbines and compare this concept with more traditional gearbox-based wind turbine technology. Film footage was run from Tacke's factory of wind turbines being manufactured and tested.

To illustrate how documents had apparently been secretly altered by the Commission, the programme showed a page of the project's evaluation by a panel of technical experts, called in by the European Commission to assist in selection of projects for funding. The experts wrote: "Highly innovative direct drive concept, includes inter machine comparison." Based on this judgement the project received an A1 rating, reported the programme. The same page was then shown once more, this time from the technical evaluation report after it had again passed through the hands of Commission officials, or an official. The statement now read: "Innovative proposal. The innovation is only in the drive concept."

Significantly, there was no indication given in the document that this was the Commission's opinion and not that of both the technical panels, reported the programme. The panel had signed off its evaluation in a common "Consensus Report." The Commission's judgement also failed to recognise that it was the proposal's "inter machine comparison" which made it of value as a research project, because it would compare and assess two wind turbine concepts. In the second evaluation report, said Monitor, the Tacke proposal was downgraded to "B" and slipped to the reserve list.

Markus Tacke, head of the wind company, comments: "This appears to be not only a case of misuse of Commission powers but also a legal scandal where documents have been falsified." Commenting on the project, he adds: "It was a standard industrial systems analysis at the research and development level. Obviously, without the Joule support it will have to be postponed."

The television programme also reported a test case for a solar project where the evaluation was changed to mean the opposite of the opinion of the technical panel. Downgrading a project from A1 to C, the technical evaluation was changed from "Novel ideas; highly innovative," to "innovative proposal; much of the work already underway." The proposal will receive no support.

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