Finance heavyweights launch new firm to repower old German wind farms

Independent power producer NextWind has raised $100 million to invest and repower the German onshore market

NeXtWind will target early German wind farms for repowering (pic credit: BWE)
NeXtWind will target early German wind farms for repowering (pic credit: BWE)

Backed by US firm Crestline Investors, Norwegians Ferd and German group ARB Investment Partners, new independent power producer (IPP) NextWind will initially seek to acquire and rejuvenate older wind farms in Germany.

However, its overarching goal is to acquire and transform a portfolio in excess of 1GW of end-of-regulatory-life European assets, according to a press statement released today.

Its projects will encompass both repowering – a full replacement of the turbines on site (and associated re-permitting)  – and lifetime extension, which will involve upgrades to get the most out of existing equipment.

The company is currently negotiating framework agreements with some of Europe’s largest utilities in order to facilitate the signature of future power purchase agreements (PPAs), it said.

The company told Windpower Monthly that the power from the majority of sites will be sold via PPAs, as assets fall out of their previous regulatory tariff arrangements. 

The spokesperson added that in Germany, the ownership of fairly old sites (so-called teenage sights) is highly fragmented – “which is why the market now needs well-capitalised IPPs to step in, consolidate, modernise and ensure these assets don’t just drop off the baseline of clean power”.

They added: “We’re talking about the early sites here – the pioneers. The majority of these installations were backed by communities, high-net-worth individuals and smaller ethical investment platforms. This was before the utilities really entered the market.”

Ewald Woste, who has served on boards at utility giant E.on and the German energy agency Dena, will be NextWind’s CEO. He said: “The older wind sites tend to have the best locations but the worst efficiencies. We’ve assembled the expertise and funding to ensure that these sites are not lost to a diminishing baseline of clean power.  

“Indeed, with smart investment and management we expect to double the average wind harvest from these pioneering parks. With Germany phasing out coal and nuclear generation, this is important work”.

NextWind believes its strategy will help it to become Europe’s next major green independent power producer.

It expects to complete the acquisition of its first sites in the coming weeks.

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