Austrian Burgenland plans to skim off »excess revenues« through »landscape levy«

The Austrian federal state of Burgenland is considering to skim of windfall profits from renewable energies by a significant increase in the »landscape image levy« for solar and wind power plants. In the amendment to the Burgenland Regional Planning Act, it is planned to increase the annual levy, which was introduced in 2021, for new wind power plants to € 17,600 ($ 17.730) per megawatt, and that for PV plants to € 6,500 euros ($ 6.548) per hectare. This corresponds to a sixfold and fivefold increase, respectively. Old plants will get off somewhat better at the beginning with € 7,900 (wind) and € 3,250 (solar), but over the course of four years the amounts are to be raised to the level of new plants.
The industry associations IG Windkraft and the Federal Association Photovoltaic Austria (PVA) sharply criticize the plans. If this levy comes in this way, investments in new wind and PV plants in Burgenland (the photo shows the groundbreaking ceremony for »SonnenPark Nickelsdorf« on June 15) would collapse dramatically, said Stefan Moidl, managing director of IG Windkraft.
A legal opinion commissioned by the two associations also concludes that the increase is unconstitutional and violates EU law. A skimming off of excess proceeds is not legally possible at the state level. In addition, the Renewable Energy Expansion Act (EAG), which applies throughout Austria, already provides for a repayment of excess profits into the subsidy system in the event of high electricity market prices.
The amendment is to be passed in the next session of the provincial parliament on November 17.

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