France's largest independent electricity supplier, Poweo, is investing in wind power as part of its strategy to diversify its production base towards renewables. The company aims to own 3400 MW of mixed generating assets by 2012, of which 300 MW will be wind and 300 MW other renewables. In the immediate future, Poweo wants to acquire 200 MW of wind generation by 2009. Its first foray was the purchase of a 10 MW project at Boulay in the Moselle département of north-east France, due for completion January 2008. The EUR 12.3 million price tag was financed 86% by a bank loan, with Poweo putting up the remainder. Poweo is also using its own money to buy a 24.5% stake in an 11.5 MW project of Nordex turbines being commissioned this month at St Aubin in the neighbouring Meuse département at a cost of EUR 15.3 million. Rather than selling the output direct to its customers, Poweo will sell the power to national utility EDF to benefit from France's fixed premium purchase prices for wind. In addition to buying up projects, Poweo is also negotiating to buy a French wind project developer. Poweo is owned 18.4% by Austria's Verbund and 22.8% by private investors, with the remaining shares floating on the Paris Euronext exchange.
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