German law rules out poor sites

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Amendments to Germany's renewable energy law, the Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz (EEG), are expected to take effect at the beginning of August after a compromise was reached on wind power purchase rules between the lower house of parliament and the opposition controlled upper house, which had lodged objections to the draft law in May. The lower house voted to accept the changes on June 18.

From mid 2005, new wind projects set to produce less than 60% of the generation expected from a "standard" wind location will not be eligible for EEG premium payments. It is up to wind plant developers to prove they are eligible for EEG support. The ruling is to prevent continued development in areas of Germany with little wind, which pushes up the price of wind power to the consumer.

"Many projects, especially in southern Germany, will now not be built," says Peter Ahmels of the Bundesverband Windenergie, the federal wind association. About 9% of potential projects will be hit, according to Michaele Hustedt, energy expert for the Greens party.

A small industry wind energy association, Wirtschaftsverband Windkraftwerke (WVW), comments that the 60% rule will encourage the wind industry to speed technological development in efforts to beat the cap. It is also pleased at the new security offered by the law, which will not be up for review until the end of 2007. WVW welcomes the improved regulation for offshore wind projects (Windpower Monthly, May 2004.) "Work can now proceed into the long term," says the group's Wolfgang von Geldern. He is chairman of wind development company Plambeck Neue Energien.

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