The planners are currently working on wind power projects with a capacity of approx. 1,300 megawatts in seven European countries, as well as in Argentina and Uruguay. With this, 600 future wind turbines are undergoing planning. As one of the pioneers, ABO Wind has built approx. 250 wind turbines from 1996 to date.
Modest profit generated during the crisis year
While the medium-term and long-term prospects of the company are better than ever, the result of the past year is characterised by the financial crisis. The net profit of ABO Wind AG, in the amount of EUR 713,000, remains significantly behind that of the record year 2008, when EUR 4.8 million was generated.
At EUR 11.6 million, sales are also less than half as large as in 2008 (EUR 25.2 million). The ABO Wind Group, to which the foreign planning subsidiaries, as well as Eurowind AG belong, reports a net profit of EUR 27,000 for the previous year – in 2008 it was EUR 869,000. Sales fell from EUR 27.8 to 19.8 million.
The reduction is particularly due to delays in wind energy project financing. During the crisis, the banks’ requirements increased significantly, which resulted in considerable extra costs. The approvals, particularly by French authorities, required more time, so that several projects were postponed to the next financial year.
The fact that investors were restrained also made the past year more difficult. Several tried to seize the window of opportunity and acquire wind farms below value. ABO Wind could and can afford to reject such offers. Since the beginning of 2010, the willingness of investors to buy wind farms at sensible prices has increased distinctly again.
During the first quarter of 2010, ABO Wind already sold three wind farms in Germany and France, after only one project had been sold in 2009. This indicates that a better annual result will be achieved again in 2010. For 2011, a continuation of the 2008 profit is aimed at.
Wind farms with 100 megawatts are connected to the grid
The construction of new wind farms has also gained momentum again. After ABO Wind only connected eleven wind turbines with an output of 22 megawatts in 2009, 28 turbines with 66.5 megawatts of output are currently under construction.
Two smaller, German wind farms have already been completed this year, while several additional building approvals have been received or are anticipated during the coming weeks. In total, the commissioning of approx. 100 megawatts of wind power is anticipated in Ireland, Germany and France in 2010.
Strong position in Ireland
The lion‘s share will be provided by both of the large Irish projects, Glenough (32.5 megawatts) and Gortahile (20 megawatts). ABO Wind was the only foreign project developer to succeed in making financing possible for Irish wind farms in 2009, under the difficult conditions of the financial crisis.
Due to the market position that has now been reached, good business is also anticipated in the Republic of Ireland during the coming years, which offers many opportunities, due to its attractive compensation for feeding electricity into the grid and large space potential, and it will be one of ABO Wind’s most important markets in the long term.
Eurowind projects run better than forecasted
ABO Wind primarily regards itself as a project developer, which plans, finances and builds wind farms and biogas plants and sells them to investors, on behalf of whom, it takes on the technical and commercial operations management. As an additional business field, the company has been building an international wind power portfolio since 2008, with five farms in Germany, France and Ireland and a capacity of 57 megawatts, which will remain in the Group’s inventory.
The owner is the subsidiary, Eurowind AG. Four of the five wind farms are now in operation, for three of these, yield data has already been available for a period of more than one year. These show that the turbines are producing an average of ten percent more electricity than forecasted by the surveyors. This indicates high income for ABO Wind from the Eurowind investment during the coming years.
Pioneering work in Argentina
Just as ABO Wind has been involved in writing the success story of wind power in Germany since 1996, as one of its pioneers, the company is now working on helping the most efficient of the renewable energies to achieve a breakthrough in Argentina. As there is a shortage of electricity and the wind blows strongly and continuously, Argentina is ideal for using its power for climate-friendly electricity generation.
ABO Wind has now nearly developed one of the first large wind farms (50 megawatts) to readiness for construction. The chances are good for the project being realised in cooperation with local partners and thereby contributing to a reliable and climate-friendly energy supply for the country.
Biogas plant successfully converted
The comparably small Bioenergy department, with three planners, has developed a new business field, which also offers good prospects. ABO Wind has been one of the first to buy up and completely redesign an existing biogas plant from the ground up, which was suffering from technical and commercial problems.
During the course of the repowering, the plant received, inter alia, a new heat concept, as well as a satellite block heating power plant. ABO Wind significantly increased the energy generation and the value of the plant. Additional repowering projects are intended to follow.
Citizens invest in renewable energies
In November 2009 and April 2010, ABO Wind issued participation capital, which enables investors to participate in the good prospects for renewable energies, with sums starting from EUR 2,500. The purpose of the participation capital is to pre-finance biogas and wind power projects. The biogas participation capital is cancellable after two years and yields 6.5 percent interest.
Anyone who invests in wind power commits himself for two years longer and receives 8 percent. More than 600 investors have entrusted ABO Wind with around EUR 9 million so far. In total, EUR 12 million is intended to be acquired. The good response by the investors improves the possibilities for ABO Wind to realise projects with greater independence from the moods of the financial markets and sell them at adequate prices after completion.
Growth in the crisis
During the crisis, the company’s most important capital grew significantly: 145 qualified and motivated, permanent employees work internationally for ABO Wind. 52 of the women and men – particularly planners, business people and civil engineers – are working at the company headquarters in Wiesbaden. 32 work in Heidesheim, near Mainz, where operations managers and wind surveyors mainly have their offices.
ABO Wind employs another 61 staff in the branches in France, Spain, Ireland, Scotland and Argentina. In the past months, ABO Wind has particularly expanded the Germany Planning Group and the Financing department in Wiesbaden, in order to take advantage of current opportunities. The growth confirms the trend that the wind energy industry is regarded overall as a job machine. A good 90,000 people are currently employed in the planning and construction of wind turbines and their operation in Germany – more than in coal mining, for example.