German renewables support law finally passed

Industry, NGOs, welcome "breakthrough" package, large-scale hydro calls for fair treatment

Germany's new renewable energy support legislation designed to help double the share of electricity produced from renewable sources to 10% by 2010 was finally passed by the lower parliamentary house, the Bundestag, on Friday and will take effect on 1 April. The law will replace the old feed-in law, which is credited with having made the German wind industry the world's largest (ENDS Daily 25 January), with new rules that, it is claimed, will do the same for solar.

The new law provides for fixed levels of state support for electricity generated from wind, solar, geothermal, and smaller plants generating power from hydro, landfill gas, sewage gas and biomass. Hydropower, landfill and sewage gas plants with a capacity over 5 megawatts (MW) are excluded, as are biomass plants of more than 20 MW (ENDS Daily 17 December 1999).

The industry association for renewable energy (BBE) has welcomed the new law, which it said would play a central role in moving Germany towards future electricity generation technologies and would provide the "ignition for the solar age". Solar energy is particularly favoured under the law, with a fixed subsidy of euros 0.50 (DM0.99) per kilowatt hour. The solar industry has also welcomed the new law saying it has given "decisive impetus to market penetration of solar power".

But NaturEnergie, a supplier of renewable energy, has protested at the government's policy, calling for equal treatment for all hydropower and not just support for small plants. The firm is proposing to spend euros 435m on a new 100 MW hydro plant, which it says would save 600,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually compared with a coal-fired power station.

Follow Up:
BBE, tel: +49 511 844 1933; NaturEnergie, tel: +49 7624 90800.

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