Portuguese player goes east -- Poland, Romania and Bulgaria

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Martifer Renewables, the electricity generation unit of Portugal's Martifer Group, is moving out of its traditional European markets of Portugal and Germany and into eastern Europe, with projects on the go in Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. It is also targeting Ukraine, where it has 300 MW in early stage development.

In Poland, it has added two projects, both to go online in 2010, to bring its wind portfolio to 541 MW. The PodKarpacie development in southern Poland has grid connection rights for 45 MW, with 28 MW permitted, says the company. Construction is to start next year. The second, a 36 MW project, is in the west-central region. More immediately, Martifer is building two projects in the Krosno region using Repower 2 MW turbines from Germany, the 10 MW Leki Dukielskie Wind Park and the 18 MW Bukowsko Wind Park. They are due online in 2009.

In Romania, the company is to start work on a 50 MW wind plant using Suzlon turbines from India. It is the first stage of a planned 400 MW project Martifer hopes to complete in 2012. Its total wind project pipeline in Romania stands at over 600 MW. In Bulgaria, Romania's neighbour to the south, the company has acquired local developer Vesto along with a 12.6 MW project in the north-east region. Construction work on the project is expected to start next year. Bulgaria's public electricity company, NEK, says 16% of the country's electricity demand should be met by renewables in the short term, which Martifer says will require 1450 MW of installed wind capacity. Bulgaria has just over 100 MW to date.

Outside Europe, Martifer has an 816 MW wind portfolio in the US and 364 MW in Brazil. The company says its total pipeline of wind projects in development amounts to about 3300 MW. To date, it operates 53.1 MW of wind plant in Germany. It has around 500 MW under construction or in development in Portugal.

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