Against the Wind

Struggling Utility RWE Not Ready to Blow Off Wind Energy

rwe wind park dpa
An RWE wind park. The company needs to save money and is seeking partners for its planned wind farm off the northern coast of Germany.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    RWE Innogy is committed to renewable energy and wind parks, but money woes are forcing it to seek outside investors.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The Nordsee One offshore wind farm will be the world’s largest, providing electricity to 1 million homes.
    • After delays in connecting turbines to the mainland, RWE Innogy’s Nordsee Ost will begin operations in 2015.
    • RWE Innogy’s green energy program includes wind energy, hydroelectric and biofuel power plants.
  • Audio

    Audio

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RWE urgently needs to cut costs. The electric utility is in such a deep existential crisis that it can no longer afford major investments. This even applies to its subsidiary RWE Innogy, responsible for its future-oriented renewable energy business.

Nevertheless Hans Bünting, the chief executive of RWE Innogy, is now embarking on a major project, the construction of another offshore wind farm in the North Sea.

“We are in the midst of positive talks,” he told Handelsblatt. “And I am confident that we will achieve a successful outcome in the coming months.” Because of the parent company’s troubled financial situation, Mr. Bünting intends to bring in outside investors for the project.

The project is called Nordsee One, a planned offshore wind farm 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the North Sea island of Juist. The initial phase, involving the construction of 54 turbines, comes with a price tag of about €1.2 billion ($1.6 billion).

But it’s only the first stage of a wind farm that could become one of the world’s largest, with a total planned output of 1,000 megawatts. It would be enough to supply electricity to a million households, at a total project cost of €3 billion.

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