Battleground over proposed capping of volume of wind

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Under pressure from the national utility lobby, Estonia's economy ministry has proposed capping the volume of wind energy that state-owned Estonia Energy is required to buy each year to 200 GWh, corresponding to about 75 MW of generating capacity. "It's completely ridiculous," says Jaan Tepp of the Estonia Wind Power Association (EWPA). "Especially considering there is 200 MW of capacity in the pipeline for development." In the state's proposal, Estonian Energy would buy the 200 GWh for EEK 0.80/kWh (EUR 0.05/kWh). That is around double the amount received by oil shale producers, who generate 90% of the country's electricity. Tepp says the rate will allow existing wind facilities to recoup on their investments, but the incentive for new development dies. Local company Estwind laid aside plans for 63 MW in Ontika, Tepp says, based on the move. Killing support for new wind could mean Estonia will not meet its goal of getting 5.1% of its energy from renewables by 2010, Tepp says, although the Estonian energy ministry told the Baltic Times that new wood-and-waste biomass facilities might fill the gap. Estonia's needs are soaring. It is one of Europe's most active economies with growth of 8% in 2005, according to the Bank Of Estonia. Tepp says that EWPA is hoping pressure from the European Wind Energy Association might encourage the ministry to lift the limitation as well as recalculate the price paid to wind producers annually to adjust for inflation. If not, EWPA will try to engage the European Commission to look at the legality of limiting wind development.

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