Windfarm owners face financial turbulence

Windfarm owners face financial turbulence
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Claims by the boss of John Laing that it has taken a financial hit on its farm here after assessing that the wind will blow less strongly than expected has perplexed other energy suppliers.

The infrastructure giant’s chief executive, Olivier Brousse, told analysts it is taking a multi-million writedown on a windfarm it owns at Glencarbry, Co Tipperary, and others in Germany because it estimates that the wind will blow less and generate less power over the next 10 to 15 years than it once anticipated.

The company’s fully-owned windfarm at Glencarbry is expected to have an operating life of a further 23 years. Mr Brousse told analysts that apart from Australia, it had “another challenge in the first half with some of our European assets — especially in two countries, Germany and Ireland, where the wind yield has been quite subdued in recent months”.

The writedowns come as it prepares to sell its Irish and German renewable energy assets. It has also decided to put on hold any new solar and wind investments in Europe and Australia. The remarks have perplexed other wind producers here.

“Ireland is recognised as having some of the best wind resources in Europe,” said Justin Moran of the Irish Wind Energy Association. “Last year we provided 29% of the country’s electricity and indications so far for 2019 are that the amount of wind energy being produced is rising rapidly.”

Mr Moran said the Government’s Climate Action Plan seeks to provide 70% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

“Our members are already developing the on- and offshore windfarms to ensure we achieve that target.”


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