Swedish venture capitalists put money on wind

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Sweden's main wind turbine manufacturer, Nordic Windpower AB, has been bought by three Swedish venture capital companies aiming to establish the wind company on the world market. To date, Nordic Windpower has only built two turbines, the prototypes Nordic 400 and Nordic 1000. But the company's dynamic Bruno Bergqvist has spent much of his time during the last years trying to convince entrepreneurs and financial institutions about the promising prospects for wind power and the Nordic Windpower concept.

It now looks as if Bergqvist's efforts have paid off. Nordic Windpower's new owners have considerable financial clout. Arbustum Invest AB is owned by Industrifonden and Volvo Aero. Novare Kapital AB is a daughter company to Investor AB, run by the strongest industrial group in Sweden. SEB Foretagsinvest is connected to Sweden's largest bank. The new owners have made it clear that while they expect no immediate returns, they hope the company will establish itself in the long run on the fast growing wind market.

Nordic Windpower's core philosophy is to make turbines that are lighter and less complicated than the machines on the market today. By minimising components, construction material and weight, the company says costs will be lower and the price will be competitive.

The 1 MW Nordic 1000 prototype has continued to have some "teething problems," says Bergqvist, but these have been cured and the machine is now commercially competitive (Windpower Monthly, May 1998). In the last year it produced more than 2400 MWh, with an availability of 96%. Two Nordic 1000 turbines will be manufactured this year-but the company has enough room in its factory to build four turbines simultaneously, in case orders come in, Bergqvist says.

Nordic Windpower has moved its factory and headquarters to Taby just outside Stockholm. The company employs four, not counting a production crew.

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