Havgul targets cross-border Nordic investment


May 1, 2015

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Europe’s Nordic countries have operated a single energy market for the best part of two decades. It is a a little odd, therefore, that we haven’t seen a pan-Nordic wind developer.

That is due to change this month. Norway’s Havgul Clean Energy and Sweden’s Triventus Wind Power are set to merge to become Havgul Nordic, which will operate in Norway, Sweden and Finland.

The new firm is not targeting Denmark because the wind market is more mature and, therefore, it sees that its opportunities to get involved there are more limited.

Havgul Nordic is set to start with a portfolio of almost 1.6GW, with seven projects totalling 504MW in Sweden, five totalling 865MW in Norway, and three totalling 185MW in Finland. Its wind projects range from small sites without development permits to large consented projects, such as 350MW offshore scheme Havsul 1, and the 200MW Tonstad wind farm.

In an interview with A Word About Wind, Havgul Nordic chief executive Harald Dirdal said that the discussion about a merger started last year as Havgul Clean Energy was looking to raise equity. Dirdal said it made sense to merge the portfolios of the two firms as it gave them coverage across the Nordic region; and enabled them to share their expertise.

The benefits for investors are that the new company would offer a single point of contact to invest in schemes across the region; and that Havgul and Triventus would be able to cut the overall costs of developing schemes due to the economies of scale post-merger.

And Dirdal also said that this would enable the new company to capitalise on recent changes in Norway and Sweden that those of us based outside the region have not talked about much.

One of these is the deal between the Norwegian and Swedish governments to raise their joint target for renewable electricity production to 28.4TWh/year by 2020. This is 2TWh/year more than the previous target and is due to come into force on 1 January.

This gives the new firm confidence that there will be plenty of opportunities in wind.

Then there is the Swedish government’s decision to phase out nuclear power in the next 15 years; and the planned export cable that Statnett and National Grid are looking to build between Norway and the UK, which is set to enable both countries to trade excess renewables. Both of these indicate a growing market for renewable energy both domestically and overseas.

Dirdal also said that Norway’s huge hydro capacity — the country gets 99% of energy from hydro — meant it has huge potential to export extra power generated by sources including wind.

He said: “98% of oil and gas is exported; 95% of everything we produce in fisheries is exported; and you will see the same situation in wind because of our wind resources.”

Havgul Nordic is now looking to attract further investment to support its plans in the region. The developer will hope that investors have as much confidence in the Nordics as it does.

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