GE, German wind-farmer buys into Isan project

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GE, German wind-farmer buys into Isan project

US-based General Electric (GE) has teamed up with the German wind-farm developer Pro Ventum to invest in wind-energy projects across Southeast Asia, starting with the 5.8-billion-baht wind farm in Thailand‘s northeastern province of Chaiyaphum.

GE, through its financial arm GE Energy Financial Services, and Pro Ventum will together hold 50% or slightly more than half of Thepsathit Wind Farm and the balance will be owned by Thai partners including banks that grant loans to the project, said Reiner Zoller, chief executive of Pro Ventum International. The shareholding structure is expected to be finalised within a few weeks, he added.

Thai banks and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have agreed to jointly fund the 90-megawatt wind farm of which 30-35% of the investment cost will be shareholders’ equity and the rest debt financing.

The construction of the project is targeted to start in the second quarter of next year and the wind farm, one of the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia, will be operational in December 2012, Mr Zoller said.

”This is our first project. There are other projects under development for us to work on together,” he said, adding that Pro Ventum had projects with a combined capacity of 300 MW in the pipeline for Thailand including the Thepsathit project.

”At the beginning, we will focus on our first project in Thailand,” said Michael Roeder, GE’s product line leader of wind energy in Asia Pacific.

”We are also looking at other Southeast Asian markets. If there is opportunity out there, we will be happy to go and do it together.”

GE and Pro Ventum chose Thailand as their first investment destination for wind farms due mainly to the country’s strong commitment to renewable energy and supportive legislation, said the executives.

Wind energy qualifies for an adder tariff of 3.5 baht per unit (kilowatt/hour) and incentives granted by the Board of Investment. The government aims to lift the use of renewable resources to 20% of the country’s power generation by 2021, from 8% now.

Thailand‘s multi-year incentives have made wind energy development a competitive proposition for potential investors, said Kovit Kantapasara, GE Energy’s country executive for Thailand.

”Pro Ventum is one of the most experienced wind developers. This partnership is good business match,” he added.

GE yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding to supply 36 units of GE’s 2.5-MW wind turbines to Thepsathit Wind Farm, totalling more than 200 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year and displacing 275,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Globally, GE supplies 14,000 units of wind turbines with 127,000 GWh of energy produced.

Source: Bangkok Post

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