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While supportive of renewables, Lower Saxony Minister President Gerhard Schroeder (Social Democrat) is clearly concerned about the future of Germany's Electricity Feed Law. The law forms the market foundations for wind power and is currently under determined assault by the utility establishment (Windpower Monthly, April 1995).

At a press conference held by the huge association of German plant and machinery manufacturers, VDMA, he warned that the law might not withstand the attack. "There are legal reasons which indicate that someone could take the matter to court," he said. But Schroeder pointed out that with the rapid expansion of renewable energies taking place in Germany a more balanced form of support is now necessary.

"The government must not just mouth statements about its good intentions towards renewable energiess, but provide the money, too. This is the logical consequence of the Berlin Environment Summit," he stressed, referring to last month's international conference on climate change. Schroeder favours the introduction of an energy tax to raise the necessary funding. "We would then have a considerable sum to support renewable energies and energy saving technologies -- and for buying renewables power under the Electricity Feed Law, a financial burden which is growing fast."

Schroeder also said it was his intention to ensure that wind turbines have a special planning privilege in non-built up areas, although local councils would still be able to say where they did and did not want wind development. Rounding off the occasion, Schroeder said his government in Lower Saxony is willing to support the "wind acceptance" campaign soon to be launched by the neighbouring Schleswig-Holstein government. The two state governments will match the sums put into the campaign by the wind industry.

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