PNE chief says wind set fair

German developer PNE told investors the German wind sector had managed to head-off “unreasonable changes” to the country’s renewables policy, as it offered an upbeat view of its own prospects.

Unveiling its first-quarter financial results, PNE’s chairman Martin Billhardt said the German industry had “substantial concerns” over early drafts of government reforms to the country’s renewables law, or EEG.

But Billhardt said: “With the help of industry associations and state governments, it was possible to prevent unreasonable changes.”

The final version, currently passing through Germany’s parliament, softens plans to count all repowering capacity to an annual cap and eases some cuts to onshore wind feed-in tarffs.

PNE said it came near to breaking even on its operations in the first quarter of 2014, which saw a big year-on-year jump in sales to €32.9m ($45.1m) as PNE absorbed the operations of WKN, the fellow German developer it bought last year.

The group’s operating income before interest and tax (Ebit) was a negative €800,000, compared to a €2.5m deficit in the same quarter last year. The net loss widened to €5.18m from €3.84m last time.

PNE stressed its 9.5GW German and international pipeline – roughly evenly split between onshore and offshore wind – as a reason to “look forward with optimism” and said it expects to achieve a cumulative Ebit figure of €110m-130m during the 2014-16 period.

Billhardt said: “This year the onshore wind power segment is a major source of gratifying operational business events.

“Furthermore, it is clear that our strengthened international presence, above all as a result of the acquisition of WKN, has provided our business model with an even broader foundation. This will pay dividends in the future.”