This year's subsidy rush for cash from the economy ministry's current market programme for renewables is far worse than last year's when 2300 applications were received for support from the limited budget of DEM 10 million. Ten to 15 wind turbines were eventually supported, says the programme's administering office, the Bundesamt für Wirtschaft (BAW). This year, though, some 8000 applications had been received by the BAW. Interestingly, only 300 of these are for wind projects, suggesting that subsidies are only essential these days for development of inland sites with poor winds. There is considerable debate about whether the programme's 1994 rules should continue unchanged in the current four year programme. Under the one year programme, only wind turbines in the 450 kW-1 MW size range were eligible and only for sites with a maximum average wind speed of 5 m/s. Subsidy was set at DEM 200/kW up to a limit of DEM 100,000 per project. It now appears that a size cap of 2 MW could be applied to projects, with support available for only one wind turbine per development. Maximum average wind speed might also be reduced to 4.5 m/s. The only good news is for small turbines. There is talk of raising their subsidy ceiling to DEM 150,000 to compensate for rising grid connection costs, although it would apparently remain at DEM 100,000 for large turbines.

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