Luxembourg to boost renewables subsidies

Environment ministry proposes Europe's highest feed-in support for solar electricity

Luxembourg could have Europe's most generous "feed-in" subsidy for solar generated electricity from next year under a new environment ministry proposal. Overall, subsidies for photovoltaics and solar thermal heating have been earmarked for large increases by Luxembourg's Liberal-Conservative government, including new financial assistance for construction of low-energy and passive solar homes. No changes in subsidies are being proposed for wind, small hydropower or biomass energy.

Under the package, fixed price supports for households that add solar-generated electricity to the country's electricity grid would rise substantially to euros 0.62 (LFr25) per kilowatt hour (kWh), of which euros 0.55 would be provided by the state and the remainder by the electricity distributor. The total would surpass even Germany's recently increased solar feed-in payment of 0.51 per kWh (ENDS Daily 29 February).

The proposal also includes a 100% increase in the proportion of solar panel installation costs the state will subsidise. Meanwhile, the cost of installing thermal solar heating will be subject to increased assistance, and assistance for the construction of low energy and passive solar housing will be introduced for the first time .

According to an environment ministry official, the increased incentives for renewables are not expected to contribute much towards meeting Luxembourg's Kyoto protocol commitment, but are a show of "solidarity" with other EU member states. Under Luxembourg's climate change plan, the government has a target of achieving a 10% market share for renewable electricity by 2010 (ENDS Daily 5 May).

A Greenpeace spokesperson said that the group was pleased with the proposed subsidies, and that they marked the first substantial policy contribution from Charles Goerens, the Liberal environment minister, since he took office in August 1999.

Follow Up:
Luxembourg environment ministry, tel: +352 47 81, and press release; Greenpeace Luxembourg, tel: +352 54 62 52.

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