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Denmark’s DONG Energy acquires three German offshore wind parks

The €157m deal should help Berlin achieve its renewable goals

DONG Energy, the state-owned Danish energy firm, has agreed to pay €157m to acquire three offshore wind parks in Germany from PNE Wind AG, a project developer based in Cuxhaven. In a statement, DONG said it had made an initial payment of €57m to PNE Wind, adding that payment of the remaining sum depended on all three projects coming to fruition. The German regulator BSH has so far cleared two of the three parks. DONG expects approval of the third facility in 2013 so that construction can commence two years from then. “The acquisition of Gode Wind 1, 2 and 3 is an important step toward DONG’s goal of playing a leading role in the growing German market for offshore wind power,” said Carsten Krogsgaard Thomsen, who took over as acting CEO after Anders Eldrup was forced out in March. DONG’s investment is good news for the German government, which wants to have up to 10GW of offshore wind capacity installed by 2020 as part of its ambitious renewable goal. The three parks, known as Gode Wind, will contribute 900MW once they are erected 30km northwest of the German island of Nordeney in the North Sea.Yet due to the difficulty of connecting offshore wind parks to Germany’s grid, some wind power experts are sceptical that 10 MW can be installed by the end of the decade. Indeed, German institutional investors have been reluctant to invest in offshore wind because of the difficulty. DONG said that for Gode Wind, it had already had guarantees from the grid operator that 584MW of the 900MW to be generated could travel to the mainland. DONG has also retained PNE Wind until 2017 to realise the projects. Excluding Gode Wind, DONG is either full or part owner of five offshore wind projects in northern Europe that have a combined capacity of around 2GW. Three of these are in the UK, another off the German coast in the North Sea and the 400MW Anholt facility in the Kattegat sea between Denmark and Sweden. Dutch pension fund PGGM is involved in one of the UK projects, while the Danish schemes PensionDanmark and PKA acquired half of the Anholt facility in March 2011.