Wind Wire: Off the blocks

Cyprus' first wind farm is on its way following an announcement by London and Paris-based independent private equity firm Platina Partners that it has secured both turbines and financing for the project.

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Construction of the EUR170 million, 82 MW Orites wind farm should begin by September and is due online in 2010. The wind farm, developed by the Platina-backed Cypriot company DK Windsupply, will use 41 Vestas 2 MW turbines with an estimated annual production of 128 GWh. The Orites project is located 30 kilometres from Pathos. Once operational, Platina says the 82 MW wind farm will represent 8% of the island's total electricity generation, bringing Cyprus halfway to its official target of 165 MW in 2013. Eighteen-year debt financing has been arranged by Commerzbank, ING and NordLB, with the European Investment Bank providing 50% of the debt funding under what Platina described as a conventional project finance structure. Orites is the first to benefit from a recently approved government-mandated purchase price fixed at EUR166/MWh for 20 years. Simon Page of Platina Partners credits high incentive prices as one of the reasons they looked at the market. "It's not a high wind country so the tariff does have to be good," he says. Approved capacity for the wind farm is 140 MW but the Cypriot grid transmission operator has asked that that the project proceed in phases. It has concerns given its lack of experience in the transmission of electricity from wind farms.

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