Door to wind trade abruptly closed -- No more Danish wind sales

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New regulations for sale of green electricity in the Netherlands have put an abrupt end to the trade of wind power between Danish wind turbine owners and Dutch electricity consumers. From July 1, the power output from around 500 Danish wind turbines will once again be traded on NordPool, the Scandinavian power exchange, instead of being sent to the Netherlands, where consumers have been cashing in on a tax credit linked to purchases of green power (Windpower Monthly, June 2003). The EUR 0.06/kWh credit enabled a higher price for the Danish wind power than could be achieved by trading it on NordPool and taking advantage of a EUR 0.01/kWh "environmental bonus" from the Danish state.

Included in the EUR 0.06/kWh was a EUR 0.02/kWh subsidy payable to foreign power producers, now axed. The new rules are aimed at ensuring that Dutch tax revenues stimulate domestic and not foreign green power. Previously, Dutch renewables' support was being used mainly to buy Scandinavian biomass and hydro from existing plant, claim critics.

Selling Danish wind power in the Netherlands, which started May 1, has been "good business" for turbine owners, says Per Lauritsen of DV-Energi, the power trader. He declines to report the price paid by Dutch consumers, but it seems the Dutch tax credit element was being split between the purchaser and seller. DV-Energi, says Lauritsen, is exploring other opportunities for trade of wind power abroad from wind turbines too old to be eligible for Denmark's premium wind tariff.

Not only Danish turbines owners but also DV-Energi has earned from the Dutch dealing. Profits are being used to help pay off a loss of EUR 1.4 million, sustained by the trader at the end of 2002 when NordPool prices rocketed. To balance the books during 2003, DV-Energi has introduced a levy of EUR 0.005/kWh on the power it trades. The trader expects to earn EUR 3-4 million on its wind contracts this year.

"And things are looking up day-by-day, even though the wind has not blown as much as we thought it would in the first months of the year, so we haven't sold as much electricity as we could have done," says Lauritsen.

DV-Energi has around 2300 shareholders who, between them, own about 4000 of Denmark's 5600 wind turbines. Around 700 of these are more than ten years old and must sell their power on the open market. The government's EUR 0.01/kWh environmental bonus is available until a turbine is 20 years old.

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