Danish and French investors move in -- Super attractive Italy

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Italy's good wind power purchase prices are attracting a swarm of foreign investors to feast on the rich pickings. Last month, Danish wind developer Greentech Energy Systems and France's Theolia each secured development portfolios in the country of around 500 MW. "We're getting between eighteen and twenty euro cents a kilowatt hour," notes Greentech's Martin Kristensen. It makes the company's focus on investments in the country a "no-brainer," he adds.

Greentech's acquisition of 435 MW of project rights takes its Italian wind portfolio comfortably over 1000 MW. The purchase is split across two development packages bought from Baltic Wind International and Baltic Renewables, as well as a 50% stake in developer Parco Eolico de San Vito, whose only activity so far consists of a 58 MW wind project near San Vito in Calabria.

The Baltic Wind International portfolio comprises eight projects totalling 260 MW in early stage development, of which 34 MW is in Apulia and the remainder in Sicily. The 175 MW Baltic Renewables portfolio comprises ten projects at a later stage of development in Campania, Calabria, Apulia and Sicily. Greentech expects some of these to be fully permitted by October.

The Danish firm has agreed to pay EUR 375,000/MW for projects approved before October 1 and EUR 300,000/MW for those permitted after that date. It will, however, make a 15% up-front payment, worth about EUR 20.6 million, once it completes a screening process. The agreement is set for three years, after which the accord can be terminated without the Danish company being obliged to take over projects in which development is subsequently finalised.

Greentech is paying EUR 15.66 million for its share in Parco Eolico de San Vito, although the deal is conditional upon the 58 MW San Vito project obtaining all necessary permits, which Greentech expects to be obtained in the first quarter of 2008, with the plant slated for operation in the second half of 2009.

Rapidly expanding wind asset owner Theolia also cities Italy's attractive incentive scheme, based on trade in green energy certificates, for its purchase of Italian wind developer Maestrale Green Energy and its 500 MW project portfolio. Theolia has paid EUR 5 million upfront for the Milan-based Maestrale, with potential additional payments dependent on how many megawatts of wind projects in Maestrale's portfolio win building permits in the months ahead.

Maestrale currently has 21 MW under construction, with an additional 83 MW in permits pending in early 2008, 198 MW in additional permits filed and 198 MW in earlier stages of development. With this deal, Maestrale becomes Theolia's Italian unit.

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