Success stories for renewable Energy

Success stories for renewable Energy

In this project it was shown which framework conditions contributed to the success in recent years of electricity generated from wind energy in the countries under investigation. This meant first of all accounting for the legal, institutional, financial, technical, and economic aspects. In addition, it was investigated to what extent the results could be generalised in terms of the utilisation of wind energy and other regenerative energies in the EU as a whole, eventually promoting comparable developments there as well.

The question was addressed empirically. In the first 10 months of the project around 20 interviews were conducted with producers of wind technologies, generic energy suppliers, state-level adminstration, research institutes and interest groups. These interviews were complemented by a comprehensive literature review. < br>The study revealed that particularly in northern Germany a great number of technically reliable wind energy facilities had been successfully installed. This was, at least in part, attributable to a subsidy programme ("250-MW-Wind-Programm") which instead of directly funding producers was aimed at the facilities´ productive capacities. Further measures, leading to a veritable boom of wind technologies in Germany between 1991 and 1995, were

i) the removal of entry barriers to the otherwise rather singular electricity sector,

ii) certain specified rates on electricity from wind technologies acccording to energy regulation ("Stromeinspeisungsgesetz"), and

iii) a reduced interest rate credit scheme on behalf of ERP funds and the environmental programme of the German Ausgleichsbank.

Regarding its current wind energy capacities, Germany is today´s European leader. And on the world market, German wind technology producers have succeeded in closing the gap with respect to once dominant producers from Denmark. In contrast to German wind policy outlined above, Great Britain has only opened parts of its electricity market to wind energy suppliers based on two year tendering contracts. Selection and financing criterion ist the electricity generation price per kilowatt-hour. The accepted wind energy projects are refinanced on the basis of general electricity tariffs (Non-fossil Fuel Obligation - NFFO). This led to large scale wind parks with up to 50 wind technology units and, due to the competitive tendering scheme, to comparatively low electricity generation prices. The prevalent instability and insecurity of national funding volumes, however, prevented further development of a British wind technology industry capable of contending internationally.
In Denmark, much in contrast, wind energy was able to grow relatively early and without state intervention. Indeed, Denmark´s industry seized the opportunity to become world market leader in this yet to be fully exploited field. Besides government objectives and mutually established agreements between wind energy and conventional electricity suppliers, the introduction of a CO2 tax on non-renewables has furthermore helped the trend.

To summarise, one conclusion would suggest that in terms of efficiency and competitve grwoth funding based on energy generating capacities should be generally preferred over direct support measures for producers. Still, no one best way can be identified concerning the set of determing framework conditions. Nevertheless, the study´s findings provide a sound, international comparative basis from which to derive state-specific policy conclusions. Introduction and promotion of renewable energies in other EU states, specifically in the field of electricity generation, will therefore rely on the adaptation of according guidelines with respect to each country´s distinct economic, institutional and legal factors.

Project members

Europäische Kommission, Generaldirektion Forschung, Brüssel, BE
Cooperation partner
Roskilde University, Roskilde, DK // National Wind Power Ltd., Reading, UK


Dr. Olav Hohmeyer
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