Lukerg set for Bulgaria wind growth

Lukerg Renew, the joint venture between Russian hydrocarbon giant Lukoil and Italian renewables developer ERG, has been cleared by Bulgaria’s competition watchdog to buy another four wind farms in the country.

No indication was given as to the size of the four projects – known as Globo Energy 1, Mark 1, Mark 2 and UP Bulgaria 4 – set in Bulgaria’s windy northwest along the Black Sea. But the involvement of Bulgaria’s Commission on Protection of Competition (KZK) would suggest they are significant.

Lukoil, Russia’s second largest oil company after Rosneft, already owns a thermal power plant and an oil refinery in Burgas, and it came under scrutiny earlier this year for alleged violations in accounting for the volumes passing through its Bulgarian network.

The Bulgarian wind projects are said to be “managed” by Yordan Merakov, country director for Bulgaria for Denmark-based wind developer Global Wind Power.

Formed just two years ago, Vienna-based Lukerg has rapidly become an important player in the eastern European wind market, taking stakes in several hundred megawatts worth of capacity in Romania and Bulgaria.

The group is known to have sought money from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for some of its projects.

The Lukerg joint venture marries Lukoil’s financial heft with ERG’s experience operating wind farms in Italy and France. In its short life, Lukerg has proven a steady and significant buyer of Vestas turbines and projects, most recently splashing out €127m ($169m) on the Danish group's Gebeleisis and Hrabrovo wind farms, in Romania and Bulgaria respectively.

In addition to Romania and Bulgaria, Lukerg is considering projects in Ukraine and Russia. It is also interested in solar energy.