Germany's Energiekontor in buy back offer after poor investment returns at three wind stations

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Wind developer Energiekontor has offered to buy back stakes in three wind stations which are not returning the projected 8-10% on investments. Twenty-five of the 364 investors in the three wind stations -- Nordleda, Debstedt and Sievern near Bremerhaven on the North Sea coast -- have complained about low earnings, says Energiekontor. It admits that only half the forecasted return is being achieved. "The wind forecasts were too optimistic, although it has to be said that over the last three years we have had wind speeds below the long term average," says Energikontor's Martin Bretag. Wind measurements were conducted by the Deutsches Wind Energie Institut (DEWI). News of Energiekontor's troubles with the performance of the wind plant -- one of 6 MW equipped with Bonus 600 kW turbines and two of 11 MW with Bonus 1 MW machines -- immediately led to a rash of press reports about the security of expected returns in the wind sector. Indignant competitors to Energiekontor immediately denied that their wind plant were under-performing. Umweltkontor Renewable Energy reported that out of 17 wind stations with a combined capacity of 90 MW, only one had not achieved its forecasted earnings in 2000 and the fault lay with the local grid company and not the wind technology. Plambeck Neue Energien chipped in with a list of its "ten quality criteria" to minimise risk, including the need for site resource reports by two independent companies for every project.

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