Stock listing delayed as funds flow in

Plans for a new year stock exchange launch in Frankfurt by Wasserkraft und Regenerative Energieentwicklung AB (WRE), an international wind plant developer based in Germany, have been postponed until the end of 1999. Even without the stock exchange listing, WRE is still raising funds swiftly. The company also has several new wind projects close to realisation.

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German offshore wind projects amounting to 2000 MW of installed generating capacity are being planned by wind station operator and planning company Winkra Energie. It expects the plants to be operating by 2005. Winkra aims to co-ordinate the generation of the wind power with production in gas fired power stations to secure a significant part of Germany's power needs, reports the company's Martin Lawrenz.

Winkra has lodged an application with the economic affairs ministries in Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein for 200 to 250 machines for a North Sea project located about 20 kilometres from the island of Helgoland, Lawrenz says. For this project, as well as for one in preparatory stages for 200 turbines in the Baltic Sea, Winkra anticipates using machines as large as 5 MW, he says, a size being developed by several manufacturers, but not yet on the market. With due consideration to nature protection issues, the company plans to install the turbines in depths of ten to 28 metres at distances of 30 to 50 kilometres from the coast.

Winkra expects to co-ordinate the wind stations' output with gas power stations during peak demand periods to guarantee a secure power supply, which the company says will be as reliable as that from four or five conventional coal or nuclear power stations.

The company is also backing a proposal to set up a working group that comprises representatives from several Länder and their ministries to co-ordinate future German offshore projects.

Lawrenz says Winkra is currently discussing its options for raising the DEM 6-7 billion (EUR 3.06-3.6 billion) needed for the projects, including planning, turbines, infrastructure, sea cable and transformer station on land. One plan involves listing a yet-to-be-founded operator company for the offshore stations on the stock exchange, with the possible participation of large component manufacturers and suppliers and services companies in northern Germany. Alternatively, once the project is licensed, Winkra Energie can sell the package to a utility or turbine manufacturer.

Expect green light

In the meantime, Winkra reports that planning for another offshore wind station, closer to shore near the port of Wilhelmshaven, is well underway (Windpower Monthly, June 1998). "We expect the go-ahead from the Wilhelmshaven District government any day now," Lawrenz says. Approval has been slow in coming because the port company, Hafenwirtschaftgesellschaft, has feared the wind turbines will be in the way if a new harbour is built in 15 to 20 years. Winkra Energie has tried to diffuse this problem by pledging it will dismantle the turbines, if necessary. The wind station is to be sited between existing docks for oil and gas tankers.

Once regional planning is completed, the construction licence procedure is expected to proceed swiftly to allow building to begin at the end of 1999, says Lawrenz. "We want to have this project-Germany's first offshore station-up and running for the world EXPO 2000 exhibition beginning in May," he says. Current plans call for 11 Enercon 1.5 MW E66 machines, although it might be necessary to optimise the turbines, which are developed for use on land, he adds.

Winkra Energie, which recently celebrated its first ten years of business, has overseen the installation of more than 400 wind turbines at several sites between Flensburg and Frankfurt. The company employs 20 staff and operates 43 turbines, with turnover in 1998 at nearly DEM 20 million (EUR 10.22 million). Over the coming years, Winkra Energie will concentrate less on planning for other companies and more on building wind stations for its own use in order to expand its position as a power generator, Lawrenz says.

Offshore projects too

Stock listing delayed as funds flow in

Plans for a new year stock exchange launch in Frankfurt by Wasserkraft und Regenerative Energieentwicklung AB (WRE), an international wind plant developer based in Germany, have been postponed until the end of 1999. Preparations have not moved ahead as fast as expected, explains Markus Kasten of WRE, and the granting of a supply licence for power trading in England and Wales has been delayed. The English power industry regulatory office is expected to grant the licence soon, says Kasten.

equity piles up

Even without the stock exchange listing, WRE is still raising funds swiftly (Windpower Monthly, October 1998). The sixth capital share issue was launched in December, with 3.4 million shares offered for a total of DEM 47.6 million.

By mid January, DEM 25 million had been subscribed to and another DEM 10 million reserved, meaning the issue will probably be closed by the middle of this month, Kasten reports. WRE equity capital will then have reached DEM 81 million. The Environment Bank in Nuremberg joins two other financial institutions, Umweltfinanz in Berlin and Alterra Consult in Bad Homburg, in placing the shares.

Public funds for renewable energy projects are also flowing to WRE. The company will receive DEM 23 million in grants and a further DEM 14 million in interest free loans, almost entirely from European Commission support programs. The finance is to flow into new energy generation projects, mainly wind and small hydro plant.

Greece and Portugal

WRE has several new wind projects close to realisation. In Portugal, the 10 MW Vila do Bispo II station is now ready to go ahead, with installation slated by autumn. It follows the 2 MW phase one stage, which went on line last July, WRE is in the process of selecting a turbine supplier. "After our experience with the first Portuguese wind station, Vila do Bispo 1, we will pay more attention to what service is on offer," says Kasten, in a reference to the time it took for technicians to get the Enercon E40 machines running smoothly, he says.

In Greece, WRE has acquired licensing for four Micon 600 kW machines at Sitia on the east side of the island of Crete. Construction is due to begin in the second half of 1999. Also in Greece, WRE is planning to install 10 Enercon 500 kW machines in late summer at Lakonia. And at Evia, 50 km north east of Athens, six NEG Micon 600 kW units will go into the ground after the summer.

WRE also has two offshore wind projects on its books, pencilled in as 170 MW and 380 MW at the Polish end of the Baltic Sea, at least five kilometres from the coast. Two further offshore projects-80 MW and 100 MW-are planned for England and Wales, but Kasten declines to give further details.

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