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The association of wind turbine operators in Germany, Deutsche Gesellschaft Wind (DGW), has resigned from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). Differences in the current aims of the two organisations are the main reasons for the split, says DGW. The association represents over 1580 wind plant operating companies, each with up to 300 members, and is thus a powerful wind lobby group. The DGW explains that it has worked consistently towards a goal of emancipating wind energy from reliance on public aid. The point has now been reached where wind plant on good coastal sites in Germany can operate economically without state or federal aid. As a result DGW is now focusing on optimising planning costs and achieving economies of scale when purchasing turbines. In contrast, says DGW, EWEA is still at the starting blocks -- in the same position as the German wind industry in 1987 when it was demanding a support programme. EWEA's energy is spent trying to tap all areas of public support for wind, certainly necessary in European countries where the energy playing field is still tilted towards traditional power technologies, concedes DGW. But in Germany DGW is trying to get away from subsidies for wind in favour of a level playing field. Faced with the choice of remaining a passive member of EWEA -- and being accused of hypocrisy in shunning public support at home but raking around for it in Europe -- or using time and money attempting to redirect EWEA's policy, DGW decided the best course was simply to resign. EWEA, however, still has the opportunity to draw on German experience through the membership of the German wind industry's association, the Fördergesellschaft Windenergie.

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