Post office counter green power sales -- Dutch utility sells wind power to German customers

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Dutch power marketer Nuon is to sell the output of its German wind farms as green electricity via its German subsidiary, Unit[e]. Following an agreement with Deutsche Post AG (DPAG) on September 14, the Bad Homberg-based Unit[e] will exclusively provide green electricity for sale at post office counters in central and southern Germany. Elsewhere in Germany, Hamburg green electricity supplier Lichtblick has won a DPAG franchise, while grey power suppliers Best Energy of Berlin, Stadtwerke Dusseldorf and Elektrizatswerk Bergstrasse in Bensheim will also provide electricity for sale by DPAG post office staff.

The Nuon deal follows an extensive tendering process and will put Unit[e]'s Naturstrom package in some 3150 post offices. It is described by Nuon -- which has held a 78% stake in Unit[e] since last year -- as a major success on the German green energy market. Nuon, however, declines to give further details of the deal, or comment on the fact that Germany's electricity consumers already pay a premium for green power: the government requires that all electricity from renewable energy plant be bought at a premium price for inclusion in the power mix.

Hydro and wind mi

xUnit[e]'s Naturstrom package is made up of a mix of hydro power from Scandinavia, German solar energy and wind from Nuon's Peckelsheim wind farm, says Nuon's Fransce Verdeuzeldonk. Peckelsheim's 6 MW will be further boosted by some 90 MW of additional capacity currently being built in Germany and which Nuon is confident will come on-line this year.

The move by Deutsch Post (DPAG) into the power retail business -- for grey power as well as green power -- is part of a program to extend its product range following its recent flotation. Post office personnel have been given special training in advising customers on their power requirements and finalising power contracts. DPAG forwards the contracts to Unit[e], which supplies the power.

Whether Nuon will be targeting the Dutch post office as an avenue for boosting green power sales depends on the success of Unit[e] in Germany. The Netherlands' largest utility, Essent is already marketing its green electricity in 380 of the Netherlands' main post offices.

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