CEZ mulls 600MW Romania wind sale

Eastern Europe offers a good deal for wind investors, with a high return-to-risk ratio.

The wind complex uses GE turbines

Czech state-controlled utility CEZ is considering selling a stake in Europe's largest onshore wind complex, the 600MW Fantanele and Cogealac plants in Romania – and is said to have received several expressions of interest from international institutional investors.

The €1.1bn ($1.5bn) wind farm in southeastern Romania is located off the shore of the Black Sea in the province of Dobrogea.

A spokeswoman for CEZ told Recharge: "I can confirm that CEZ is going through market sounding to find out if there would be an investor’s interest. The possible sale would depend on the bid, and it could be some part of the wind park or some share in the project."

The utility has received expressions of interest from several possible investors, according to Reuters, which quoted a CEZ board member as saying “you do not turn down good offers".

The power produced from the Romanian plant’s GE wind turbines would offer a potential investor a secure return, said the utility, which insists it is under no pressure to sell its operations.

The Romanian regulatory environment has proved bumpy for renewables, with complaints about the way support cuts have been introduced.

Last year a complaint was lodged with the European Commission (EC) over delays by Romania in paying renewable energy subsidies, potentially costing the Czech company millions of euros a year.

At the time, CEZ said that it was impossible to quantify its potential loss, which will only start to become apparent in 2018.

In Bulgaria, Romania’s southern neighbour, CEZ faces losing its license and its distribution company is now operating at a loss due to state-run power company NEK not reimbursing CEZ and other distribution companies for renewable-energy subsidies they are owed.

That dispute is ongoing, and Bulgaria’s State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (SEWRC) will meet again on this issue next week.

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