Market comes to a halt in Austria

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Austria's wind sector has ground to a halt. Under the current market structure no new projects are expected in 2009, according to Stefan Moidl from Interessengemeinschaft Windkraft, the Austrian wind association. A new eco-electricity law passed in July 2008, providing for direct support of the sector, has yet to be approved by the European Commission. "Even if this law should get the green light later this year, it looks as though no wind station is advanced enough in its planning to come on line in 2009," Moidl says. The incentive to push them forward is "currently very weak," he adds.

Just one seven-turbine project added 14 MW to the Austrian total in 2008, but this was a "special situation not normally available in the commercial market," says Moidl. The turbines were procured under the favourable conditions of a master supply contract negotiated several years ago and the equity investment by the project's owners was larger than normal, reducing the risk and expense of financing the loan.

The new turbines were installed at existing sites in Lower Austria by wind company Windkraft Simonsfeld. In November, a Vestas 2 MW unit was added to an existing 12 Vestas 2 MW turbines at the Kreuzstetten wind station and in December four small and old turbines were removed and six new Vestas 2 MW machines added to the existing nine 2 MW machines at the Prinzendorf wind station.

Austria's national wind power total at the end of 2008 stood at 618 turbines, with a combined capacity of 995 MW able to generate about 2.1 TWh of electricity a year. The minimum fixed payment for wind generated power in 2008 in Austria was EUR 0.0754/kWh. The pay rate for 2009, still not published last month, is likely to be a slightly lower EUR 0.0753, according to the eco-electricity department of Austrian regulator E-Control.

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