(Wiesbaden, 1 July 2011) ABO Wind AG, a project developer for renewable energies based in Wiesbaden, has demonstrated a return to the good years before the outbreak of the global economic crisis with its 2010 financial statements. Profit rose from EUR 712,000 to EUR 3,213,000 compared with the previous year. “This increase shows that we have adapted well to the changing conditions on the financial markets. After all, it continues to be very difficult and more time-consuming to obtain financial backing for larger-scale international projects than was the case before the investment bank Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in September 2008,” explains Dr. Jochen Ahn, chairman of ABO Wind AG. In order to be able to finance projects in this new environment, ABO Wind has greatly increased the size of the finance department. This goes hand-in-hand with the dynamic growth being experienced throughout the rest of the company. Around 165 men and women are currently permanently employed by the company, including planners, buyers, civil engineers, technicians and wind energy assessors. This figure was 80 just three years ago.
The driving force behind this growth is the development of wind power in Germany. Thanks to a number of technological advances, an increasing number of locations away from the typically windy coastal regions can now be used to harness wind power in a commercially viable way. In addition to this, the willingness of many regions – e.g. Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse or Bavaria – to use this environmentally friendly method of generating electricity has grown. The result of this has been that ABO Wind has increased the number of employees in its German planning department from two to 20 in just four years, with numerous wind parks set to be constructed in the coming years.
The rise of wind power in Germany began long before the incident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. However, the assumption is that the potential offered by wind power will be harnessed to a greater degree following the decision by the German federal government to decommission nuclear power plants earlier. Nevertheless, politicians are faced with the task of shaping compensation models for electricity fed into the grid in such a way that domestic wind farms remain an attractive opportunity for investors. An excessive reduction in compensation levels, as has been set out in the draft amendment to the German Renewable Energy Act (Erneuerbare-Energie-Gesetz, EEG), would put a halt to the expansion of onshore wind power. Even though it is in the best interest of the national economy: Electricity produced by a wind farm out at sea or by a photovoltaic system costs two to three times as much as electricity produced by a wind farm on land; it avoids having to construct expensive and unnecessary transmission lines throughout Germany, which is the case for wind power generated at sea.
In 2010, ABO Wind commissioned eight wind farms in Germany, France and Ireland with a total capacity of around 63 megawatts. ABO Wind is already well positioned in these three countries. In 2011, the first ever Scottish project will be added to this list, when work currently underway on the Lairg wind farm is completed. The project developer from Wiesbaden is also on the verge of constructing its first wind farms in both Spain and Bulgaria. If things progress accordingly, construction work in both countries could still start in 2011. Project planning work for wind farms is subject to different rules in each country, making it necessary to complete several years of preliminary work before the first project can actually be implemented.
The construction work recently came to an end on the largest wind farm to date in the 15-year history of ABO Wind in Glenough, Ireland, where it is about to be connected to the grid via a substation that was also constructed by ABO Wind. According to forecasts, the 32.5 megawatt farm, comprising 13 turbines from the German manufacturer Nordex, is set to generate around 106 million kilowatt hours annually at the particularly wind strong site.
The Glenough wind farm constitutes part of the portfolio of ABO Invest AG, founded by ABO Wind last year. The company is also called Bürgerwindaktie and currently has around 400 investors. Four wind farms belonging to ABO Invest have already been in service for more than a year and are performing significantly better than originally forecast (index adjusted). Currently, investors have the opportunity to obtain new shares in ABO Invest AG following a capital increase. Following this, the Bürgerwindaktie will be listed on the stock exchange’s open market. Further information is available at www.buergerwindaktie.de (in German).
A proportion of the high annual result reported by ABO Wind AG is due to a one-off effect generated by unbundling the operating business. Prior to the founding of ABO Invest, the five wind farms belonged to a wholly owned subsidiary of ABO Wind AG. Following the reduction of ABO Wind AG’s stake in the wind farms, these companies are no longer to be consolidated on a group balance sheet. Intercompany profits from transactions within the ABO Wind group, which were eliminated in the balance sheets of previous years, have now contributed to the positive result. At the group level, this effect is particularly clear to see. The ABO Wind group, which also incorporates the foreign planning subsidiary Eurowind AG and was divested at 31.12.2010, recorded a profit of EUR 6,858,000 in 2010, compared to just EUR 27,000 in 2009. This includes the earnings contribution from the profits eliminated in previous years, amounting to EUR 3.4 million.
The smaller commercial field of bioenergy also continued to develop positively last year. For the first time, ABO Wind planned and obtained approval for a biogas plant with the ability to feed directly into the gas network. The project is now in the construction phase. The biogas plant at Aschersleben, which became operational in the middle of 2011, was directly purchased by the agri.capital group – Europe’s largest producer of biogas-based energy.
The future of ABO Wind AG looks very promising. The project developer is set to commission wind farms with a total output of 100 megawatts in Germany, Ireland, France and Scotland during the current year. Approvals for even larger-scale projects are also expected to be granted. Continuous growth in this sector can be expected in the coming years, given that the developer has been very successful over the past few months with the acquisition of new projects. It is to be expected that construction permit applications for around 300 megawatts will be submitted this year alone. These projects serve as the basis for a good number of years ahead. In total, the company is currently working on wind farm projects with a total output of more than 1,300 megawatts.
ABO Wind has built a bridge to access the remote Lairg wind farm in the Scottish highlands. Wind speeds at the hub height of the three turbines (60 metres) average more than eight metres per second – the electricity yield is correspondingly high.
In Barleben, ABO Wind is currently constructing its first biogas plant, with the gas being fed into the gas network after being treated, instead of being transformed into electricity locally.
ABO Wind’s largest wind farm to date in Glenough, Ireland, is set to be commissioned in July 2011. The 13 Nordex turbines with a total capacity of 32.5 megawatts belong to the ABO Invest AG portfolio. Several hundred investors have already participated in the Bürgerwindaktie. A capital increase is currently underway. Interested parties can still invest before the company is listed on the stock exchange.
In the municipality Heidenburg in Hunsrück, Germany, ABO Wind constructed two E 82 Enercon turbines with a 138-metre high tower..
The following persons are available to answer any questions: ABO Wind AG, Jutta Koch and Alexander Koffka, Unter den Eichen 7, 65195 Wiesbaden, Tel.: + 49 (0) 6 11 / 2 67 65 – 577 and 515, Fax: +49 (0) 6 11 / 2 67 65 – 599, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Tel. +49 611 267 65-515
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