Monday 19 March 2018

Co Laois wind farm bought by BNP

Thomas Molloy

A WIND farm in Co Laois has been sold to Paris-based BNP Paribas for an undisclosed sum less than a year after it was bought by a German company from a Danish rival for €42m.

The Gortahile Wind Farm, which consists of eight 90-metre-high wind turbines capable of producing enough electricity for 11,200 households, was sold by Wiesbaden-based ABO Wind Ireland to a fund managed by BNP Paribas Clean Energy Partners. Gortahile Wind Farm was constructed by ABO Wind but sold to Danish fund Green Wind Energy in 2008 only to be bought back a year later to ensure it could be built before planning permission lapsed. It is expected to produce about 70-gigawatt hours of electricity per year.

"This acquisition represents the cornerstone of a larger portfolio that we intend to build in Ireland," said Joost Bergsma, who heads the BNP Paribas fund. "Ireland is a very attractive renewables market for financial investors because of its strong wind regime."

The fund has so far raised around €250m, including commitments from institutional investors and is targeting both operational wind farms and those under construction in Ireland and elsewhere.

The six-man fund wants to raise €405m and is also interested in biomass power generation which will account for 20pc of its portfolio and solar energy. ABO said previously that wind conditions in Gortahile are excellent. The wind turbines can produce power at prices that are only slightly above those for conventional power plants. ABO Wind has also built a 13-turbine wind farm in Glenough in Tipperary at a cost of €71m which is due to be completed at the end of the year.

It will be operated by the subsidiary Eurowind. It also has planning permission for another wind farm in Gibbet Hill in Waterford where it expects to construct six 2.5-megawatt turbines.

Irish Independent

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