Portugal's wind power future hit by credit crunch

PORTUGAL: The ENEOP consortium, which is developing 1.2GW in Portugal, has said it will start laying off its 2,100-person workforce in 2012 unless it receives a European Investment Bank (EIB) loan by the end of the month.

The consortium, led by EDP, ENEL, Enercon and Generg, is scheduled to complete its allotted 1.2GW development in 2013.

816MW has already been installed but, as the global economic crisis intensified in 2010, ENEOP’s bankers backed out of a second tranche of investment for the project.

The consortium partners have continued production by injecting over €500 million of their own resources . However according to consortium president Aníbal Fernandes, the project’s future depends on the approval of a €350 million EIB loan.

Fernandes said the loan would only be approved if the Portuguese government assured the EIB in writing that the ENEOP project is unaffected by its plans to downgrade future wind-power tariffs, he said.

In October last year, Fernandes predicted ENEOP would complete the 1.2GW installation of 1.2GW by late 2012, one year ahead of schedule.