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Germany's PNE to expand beyond wind

"Courtesy of PNE WIND AG"

November 15 (Renewables Now) - German wind project developer PNE Wind AG (ETR:PNE3) wants to evolve into a "Clean Energy Solution Provider", expanding the range of services it offers, entering new markets, and adding solar, storage and other green technologies to its portfolio.

With its new strategy, presented Wednesday, PNE seeks “to reduce the volatility of earnings and to open new potential in margins”. It explained that the transition from subsidy schemes for wind to tenders or other market mechanisms in many markets, and the restrictions for wind capacity additions in certain countries, are resulting in greater competitive pressure. The optimisation of project costs is becoming increasingly important.

CEO Markus Lesser said the company’s plan is to one day encompass almost the entire renewable energy value chain. Wind, photovoltaics (PV), energy storage and power-to-gas are all key components of the new strategy. The development of power-to-hydrogen gas projects is a new feature, marking the first step of PNE into clean mobility and heating. The firm also has plans to develop hybrid power plants and island solutions in the future by combining wind turbines, solar systems and storage facilities.

In terms of geographic footprint, PNE will expand its reach beyond the established wind energy markets of Germany, France and the US. It will focus on emerging markets such as Central America, the Middle and Far East and Africa, where the potential for the development of renewable energy is significant. The company says cooperation with experienced partners would ensure secure investments in these countries.

Project development will remain the core business. In addition to that, PNE will offer operations management services and solutions for the financing for projects. It said that it may consider inorganic growth through cooperation, investments or takeovers of solar and storage firms.

The establishment of a new European wind farm portfolio of some 200 MW by 2020 is also part of the plan, as well as cross-technology projects and other services.

"With this new strategy, we are minimising market risks, opening up new potentials and markets for PNE Wind AG and, in the medium term, we will stabilise primarily the very volatile results achieved so far," Lesser said. He added that after a transitional phase the strategy is expected to result in higher average operating results.

A group of specialised employees has been established in Hamburg to explore and realise business opportunities for new products and in new markets. The "Smart Development" team is pursuing an integrated project approach that combines different renewable energy and storage technologies, optimises entry into and exit from markets, reduces the time to project success, and prevents high upfront expenditures.

PNE Wind’s operating result, or earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), improved to EUR 23.7 million (USD 28m) in the first nine months of 2017 from EUR 7.2 million a year earlier. Revenues rose to EUR 81.2 million from EUR 77.1 million.

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Browse all articles from Tsvetomira Tsanova

Tsvet has been following the development of the global renewable energy industry for seven years now. She's got a soft spot for emerging markets.

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