Eneco takes majority stake in Air Energy

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Dutch utility Eneco has taken a majority 85% stake in Air Energy, a leading Belgian developer, as part of its renewable energy strategy. The remaining 15% is held by the founders. Air Energy currently operates 54.5 MW of wind power and has 26 MW under construction in Wallonia -- 16 MW at Pont-à-Celles and 10 MW at Warisoulx, both using Enercon 2 MW turbines. These are for completion by the end of the year. A further 93 MW is in the permitting process and 206.5 MW in the pipeline. In addition, with the added muscle of Eneco, Air Energy is now looking offshore. The company recently submitted an application to build a 420-630 MW project, dubbed North Sea Power, around 30 kilometres off the Belgian coast at a cost of at least EUR 1.5 billion. If all goes well, the turbines will be installed in several phases over four years starting in 2011. Meantime, Eneco is targeting a minimum of 5 TWh of renewable energy in 2012 and 14 TWh in 2020. Most of this will come from the wind power, both on and offshore, in the Netherlands and north-west Europe, including Belgium, Germany, France and the UK. Eneco currently has 250 MW turning in the Netherlands.

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