(Wiesbaden, August 8th, 2014) ABO Wind is pleased to announce its first building permit for a wind farm in Finland. "We have been active in Scandinavia since 2013 and we just opened an office in Helsinki with four colleagues in May 2014," says Dr. Klaus Pötter, ABO Wind’s general manager responsible for Finland. "It is an encouraging success that we have already obtained the first building permit."
The wind farm will be built in a forest near the town Haapajärvi of 8,000 residents in the region Nordösterbotten, about 450 kilometers north of Helsinki. The wind measurements at the site are still in progress. The two turbines are expected to produce more than 12,000 megawatt hours of electricity each.
The appeal period has expired, so the Vestas V126 turbines are now ready for construction. Preparatory work for construction has already begun. Because of the long Finnish winter, construction is usually possible only between April and October. Thus, the wind farm is scheduled to go on-online in the spring of 2015. Its prospective buyer is ABO Invest AG (www.buergerwindaktie.de), which has secured a preemptive right by a deposit. ABO Invest is owned by 3,000 citizens, foundations and cooperatives and operates more than 50 wind turbines across Europe. Finland will be the fourth country for ABO Invest to produce climate-friendly electricity.
In Finland, the development of wind power has just begun. The aim of the administration is to quickly expand their current 450 megawatts of installed capacity (end of 2013) to 2,500 megawatts. Until the end of 2015, Finland rewards wind farms with an additional starting bonus. ABO Wind has partnerships with five local project developers to achieve a swift market entry. For the development of wind farm Haapajärvi, ABO Wind’s partner is "Infinergies Finland Oy." Currently the ABO Wind Finland team is working on projects with a rated output of more than 300 megawatts. "We are expecting additional building permits next year," says Dr. Klaus Pötter. "With our first, relatively small project in Haapajärvi, we can gain valuable experience in the emerging Finnish market and also distinguish ourselves as a key player."
The local partners facilitate contact with local landowners, government agencies, politicians and citizens. ABO Wind has in-depth expertise in turbine construction and grid connection as well as site evaluation, financing and selection of turbine types and will thus contribute significantly to the success of the projects.
(Wiesbaden, May 20th 2014) The debate over the future of the Renewable Energy Act in Germany, characterized by polemic catchphrases such as “electricity price cap,” has left its mark on the balance sheet of ABO Wind. The company’s annual result, with a surplus after taxes of about 4 million euros, remains lagging behind the record result of last year (9 million euro). “Our result is presentable, also in comparison with competitors. Without the political disturbances, which had recognizable effects all the way to the permit authorities and delayed many projects, we would have achieved an even better result,” executive board member, Dr. Jochen Ahn, is convinced. The profit and loss account for 2013 is further burdened by write-offs concerning the Bulgarian wind farm Sliven. Last year, the Bulgarian government decided to further burden already operational wind farms with additional charges, which led to a devaluation of the wind farm. Despite the fact that even the president now sues in front of the Bulgarian constitutional court against the tax, ABO Wind has decided to write off Sliven.
Total output (turnover proceeds plus change in work in progress) in 2013 was around 92 million euro (prev. year: 82 million euro). Turnover proceeds in 2013 were 89 million euro. About 21 million euro of which stem from planning services rendered and about 62 million euro from the erection of projects. Operational management generated about 4 million euro in turnover. Other turnover accounts for roughly 2 million euro.
As in the previous year, the Wiesbaden based project developer connected more than 150 megawatts to the grid. The 67 wind turbines with about 159 megawatts capacity were erected by ABO Wind in Germany (85.5 megawatts), France (58.65 megawatts) and Ireland (15 megawatts). In total, since the company’s foundation in 1996, ABO Wind has erected 450 wind turbines with a nominal capacity of 860 megawatts. The annual electricity production of these turbines amounts to approximately 1,700 gigawatt hours. This is equivalent to the home electricity consumption of 1.5 million German citizens.
The number of salaried employees in ABO Wind group has further grown to currently 285 (prev. year: 246). 210 employees work in Germany, 75 abroad. The largest offices are the headquarters in Wiesbaden and Heidesheim near Mainz.
The complete annual report can be downloaded online via our website (English version coming soon).
Overall, a total of approximately 3,000 megawatts were connected to the grid in Germany during 2013. The market share of ABO Wind was 2.9 percent. As in the middle and south of Germany, where ABO Wind has many references and established business connections, there is a large potential for the continued expansion of wind power, executive board member Dr. Jochen Ahn expects this share to rise during the coming years.
France, the second most important market of the company, has been lagging behind its expansion goals for wind power for years. The country wants to reduce its strong dependence on nuclear energy, which accounts for three quarters of French electricity. However, the addition of only 630 megawatts of wind power in 2013 is too small to achieve substantial change. ABO Wind’s perseverance in France has been paying off however as of late: More projects than expected became construction ready so that the market share of projects connected to the grid has increased to 9 percent. “This is a snapshot in time – it is unlikely that we will be able to maintain this high level in the long term,” Dr. Ahn curbs the expectations. Nevertheless, France has the potential to significantly contribute to the company’s success in the long term; particularly, if the country actually begins to implement its ambitious expansion goals for wind power.
Three weeks ago, ABO Wind opened an office in Helsinki with four project managers. Thanks to the co-operations with five local project developers, concluded during the past months, the Finnish ABO Wind team is already working on concrete projects with a nominal capacity of more than 300 megawatts. “We are confident that we will connect our first Finnish wind farm to the grid in 2015,” says Dr. Ahn. Finland has only been starting out to use and expand wind power as a building block of its electricity supply. So far, only about 500 megawatts have been installed. The government’s goal is to connect at least 2,500 megawatts to the grid as fast as possible. “Our experience with electing the turbines, financing, erection and operational management of wind farms can also be applied to the expansion of wind power in Finland,” Dr. Ahn is convinced. Finland, for years, has had negative experiences with nuclear energy. Costs for the nuclear power plant Olkiluoto 3, envisioned to be the largest and safest in the world, have ballooned from calculated 3 billion euro to more than 8 billion euro and a connection to the power grid is still not in sight. As a result, the prospects of another nuclear power plant being planned are diminishing. Instead, the decentralized and environment-friendly wind energy will likely gain even more significance. “Therefore, the co-operation with political authorities and administrations is very constructive,” Dr. Ahn reports. “We are optimistic to have encountered a very promising market for us in Finland.”
The shareholder’s meeting of ABO Wind AG takes place on Thursday, July 3rd, starting at 16:30 at the Museum in Wiesbaden. Amongst others, one of the decisions to be made is over the usage of the retained profit of the subsidiary ABO Wind AG amounting to about 6.9 million euro (prev. year; 5.5 million euro). The executive board and board of directors suggest, like in the previous year, to pay out dividends of 0.20 euro per share. Based on the current share price of around 7.5 euro, this would be corresponding to a dividend rate of 2.7 percent. Approximately 5.4 million euro of retained profit are to flow into the surplus reserve in order to further strengthen the company’s equity base. The agenda and all documents to be made available can be found online at: www.abo-wind.de/hauptversammlung.
Shareholders are asked to sign up for the shareholder’s meeting through their bank.
The revision of the Renewable Energy Act, which is scheduled to become effective by August 2014, will result in planning security for Germany during the coming two to three years. The remuneration regulations mentioned in the bill are according to expectations. “Further improvements in efficiency of turbine technology will allow us to gradually realize the about 200 wind turbines which we are currently planning in Germany.”
From politicians, ABO Wind demands to now swiftly lay out the ground works for an energy market that is tailored towards renewable energies and has the ability to integrate a growing electricity production from wind and solar power. “This is the prerequisite for a successful energy transition,” emphasizes Dr. Ahn. With its strong focus on coal energy, the current German government is on the wrong track in terms of energy economics and only strengthens and hastens the climate change.
ABO Wind will continue to participate in making our energy supply fit for the future and sees many opportunities to do so through its core business of on-shore wind power. The situation in the biogas industry is however different: “If the Bundestag and Bundesrat do not make significant changes to the renewable energy bill during the last days, no mentionable expansion will be possible,” Dr. Ahn worries. “This would be tolerable for our company. For the energy transition however, this would be a significant setback. Biogas has the ability to compensate fluctuations from wind and solar power. This technology is indispensable if one wishes to increase the share of renewable energies.”
For wind power, ABO Wind expects continued growth during the coming years. “The business is being carried for one by the stable market in Germany and otherwise by our activities abroad. Europe-wide ABO Wind has handed in permit applications for more than 500 megawatts and acquired areas and locations for 800 megawatts. “This is a solid base for continued successful business years,” Dr. Ahn is convinced.
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