Aggressive new player's plans to invest in renewables in Central Europe

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An aggressive new player in the Polish renewables market recently announced it is targeting 1379 MW operating wind power capacity by 2012 and plans to invest over EUR 2 billion in renewables in Central Europe by 2020. Green Bear, headquartered in Warsaw and registered in Luxembourg, is 78% owned by the real-estate company Orco Holding. Its strategy is "to acquire a position of leader on the renewable energy market in the region through focusing mainly on wind energy projects." While concentrating mainly on Poland, Green Bear is also developing wind projects in the Czech Republic and looking at Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia. The company acquired its first wind plant in September, a 10.8 MW installation at Lisewo on the Baltic Sea coast, which it bought from Denmark's Eurowind for around EUR 16 million. In addition, it has another 32 projects, mostly fully permitted and predominantly located in north and south-west Poland. It expects to commission 204 MW in 2009, including a 100 MW installation in the southern Czech Republic, and a further 492 MW in 2010. The projects will be funded 85% from loans, with the remainder coming from Green Bear's own capital. The company will mostly develop its own projects, but will also establish joint-venture partnerships and buy projects if of suitable quality. CEO Jean-Claude Moustacakis considers Poland to be a particularly attractive market thanks to strong state support, including "competitive prices," backed up by EU regulations. The country aims to produce 14% of energy needs from renewable sources by 2020, up from 5% currently. Its total installed wind power capacity stands at 280 MW, though Green Bear says experts estimate this could reach 2600 MW by 2015. For the Czech Republic, capacity could rise from 50 MW at present to 500 MW by the same date, the company says. All being well, it is considering a stock market listing before the end of the year.

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