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Germany to double electricity from wind

Published on 02/04/2004

2 April 2004

BERLIN – The German parliament on Friday approved plans to almost double the amount of electricity generated by wind power and other renewable energy sources by the year 2010.

Electricity mainly from wind will rise to 12.5 percent of total power in Germany by 2010, up from 7.9 percent last year, under a bill passed by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s left-leaning Bundestag majority.

Alternative energy subsidies in Germany are paid not by the state but rather by electricity users in the form of higher bills which fund wind parks and other programmes.

Stripped of subsidies a kilowatt-hour of electricity would cost between EUR 0.03 and EUR 0.04 in Germany.

With the subsidy premium added power is about twice as expensive and this yields about EUR 1.3 billion  annually which the state uses to fund renewable energy.

Despite this being a major government prestige project, public anger has been growing over giant windmills sprouting at scenic locations.

“Windmill madness – from the dream of environmentally friendly energy to massive subsidies for destroying the landscape,” was last week’s cover story of the influential news magazine Der Spiegel.

Germany currently has 15,387 windmills and the number is set to grow radically.

Activists criticize windmills not only for being in their view ugly but also for making so much noise that nearby residents cannot sleep at night. Home owners fear windmills will reduce the value of their property.

Subject: German news