Allianz buys 72 MW Italian wind project pre-construction

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International financial services group Allianz AG has made its first long term investment in the wind sector, buying 100% of Aero-fonte Srl, the project company for a 72 MW wind farm to be built in Francofonte on Italy's island of Sicily. The wind farm, developed by Germany's WKN Windkraft Nord and local partners, is to be online in April 2007. WKN will supervise the construction and be responsible for operational management of the plant, which will be one of Italy's largest, generating 111 million kilowatt hours a year. It will consist of 24 Vestas V90 3 MW turbines, being used for the first time in Italy. In stepping in to buy a project at the pre-construction stage, Allianz is taking a different route to building its wind farm portfolio than many of its rivals, whose strategy is to buy operational projects. "We are happy to take construction risk but not development risk," says Allianz's David Jones. The Allianz Group has pledged to invest up to EUR 500 million in renewables over five years.

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