Ambitious goals for Sicilian developer -- A partner for growth

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Italy's Moncada Energy Group has unveiled an industrial plan that would see its total installed wind power and other renewables capacity jump to 2900 MW by 2015 from a current 105 MW. To help give it some of the necessary firepower for growth, the group also announced it was intending to sell a 30-45% stake in the company to an undisclosed foreign partner.

Moncada, based in Agrigento on the main island of Sicily, is developing new wind farms in Italy and abroad as well as diversifying into other renewable sources like geothermal, solar and biomass energy. Its wind capacity so far is made up of just five small wind farms in wind-rich Sicily

The intention is to invest EUR 3 billion in meeting the objectives of its industrial plan -- and wind looks set to provide the lion's share of that growth. Within Italy, Moncada has started construction of a 40 MW wind farm in Cattolica Eraclea in Sicily and was due to begin work last month on two further projects with combined capacity of 60 MW. It is also in the process of acquiring an already authorised 90 MW wind farm project, also in Sicily, for an investment of EUR 20 million.

In its development portfolio, Moncada lays claim to 640 MW of onshore Italian wind farm projects at different stages of the authorisation process. Furthermore, through a partnership with Enel Produzione, a subsidiary of Italian utility Enel, Moncada has sought authorisation for a 345 MW offshore wind farm in the Sicilian Channel.

Outside of Italy, Moncada has already received authorisation for both a 500 MW wind farm in Albania and for the construction of a 500 MW, 400 kV merchant line through which the energy produced from that project could be shipped back to Italy. In Tunisia, it has a 500 MW project in the authorisation process as well as a 600 MW, 400 kV merchant line allowing it to import energy produced from both that plant and other renewable projects foreseen for the country.

Italy and Albania have a bilateral agreement by which renewable energy produced in Albania and imported into Italy will be paid for under Italy's lucrative incentive system. According to Moncada, a similar arrangement is being discussed between Italy and Tunisia. Also in the development pipeline are three wind farm projects in central Bulgaria with a combined capacity of 300 MW.

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