Spanish utility Unión Fenosa bids for 800 MW

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Spanish utility Unión Fenosa has agreed to acquire a majority stake in an 800 MW portfolio of seven wind power projects in the Australian states of Victoria and New South Wales from investment group Tecnología y Mercado Exterior (TME). The deal is pending approval by Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board. TME, another Spanish company, has been developing wind projects in Australia since 1999. It retains 20% of the portfolio, which now comes under the control of newly formed Union Fenosa Wind Australia. One of the smallest of proposed wind plant in the portfolio, an 80 MW project in New South Wales, has already landed all necessary permits for construction and should be up and running in early 2010, says Unión Fenosa. The utility is positive about the prospects for wind power in Australia, given "the push by Australia's new government to develop renewables." The government is aiming for renewables to provide 20% of the country's electricity mix by 2020, up from the current five per cent. The TME deal marks Unión Fenosa's bid to grow its renewables base. By end-2007, the utility owned just under 300 MW of wind power, all in Spain, according to figures from national wind energy association Asociación Empresarial Eólica. The company says it is also developing projects of up to 1200 MW across Mexico.

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