Austrian wind stagnation

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Austrian wind activities have stagnated since changes in the country's energy law, Elwog, took effect on October 1, 2001, along with measures to deregulate the energy sector. The revised Elwog requires Austria's nine Länder to include at least 1% renewables generated electricity in their energy mix, increasing this to at least 4% from October 2007. But most states have interpreted these minimum amounts as caps.

"Far from seeking to improve the situation, all our politicians have to offer are obstacles. We are being forced to look for projects abroad," says Andreas Dangl of Austria's biggest wind development company, Windkraftanlagen Errichtungs und Betriebsgesellschaft (WEB) in Schwarzenberg.

In 2001 only 16 turbines (17.6 MW) went on-line in Austria, bringing the country's total to 136 units -- a combined capacity of 95 MW. Most new installations were in Burgenland, in the south west. Here, there is a 5% cap on renewables generated electricity. The 3% of this earmarked for wind power had been reached by the end of the year. In September, three Enercon 600 kW turbines were added to the existing ten at the state utility-owned Windpark Zurndorf. In November a Pfleiderer 1.5 MW prototype was erected on an existing tower at Windpark Zurndorf to replace a Windtec turbine that had burned out. Also in Burgenland, Vestas installed its first 2 MW machines in Austria when five V80 went on-line near Mönchhof in December.

In Upper Austria, two Vestas V47 660 kW machines were installed by Energie von A-Z in a community wind power project in Steindlberg. Another project, Ökoenergie Wolkersdorf, installed four Enercon E40 turbines in Lower Austria, one at Wolkersdorf and three at Schrick. In other areas, one turbine went up in Styria and in November Rudi Schartner became the proud owners of an Enercon E40 installed 1300 metres above sea level at Präbichl on a mountain pass.

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