Iran's Wind Potential Assessed by German Turbine Maker Nordex

  • Iran seeks 5% share for renewable power by 2020 including wind
  • Germany may reinstate Hermes export guarantees for companies

German wind-turbine maker Nordex SE is assessing potential for sales in Iran as the country looks to investors to modernize its economy after sanctions were partially lifted.

Hamburg-based Nordex may need three months to gauge the market, examining risks from the durability of feed-in tariffs and power-purchasing contracts to bank guarantees and the strength of the wind, company spokesman Ralf Peters said by phone. He confirmed a report from the bank Warburg that Nordex has established contacts in Iran.

“It’s early inroads in a potentially new area,” Peters said. Nordex kicked off contact with Iran at a recent trade fair in the country, he said. The turbine maker hasn’t yet made a decision about the market, although it’s keen to expand Middle East activities from Istanbul, its regional hub. “We don’t want flash-in-the-pan business.”

Germany’s government and industry groups have wasted no time in pushing into the Islamic republic, giving a potential edge to Nordex, which is listed on the Tecdax. The BDI industry group based in Berlin has appealed to German authorities and Gulf states not to let political turmoil spoil business.

The German government is in talks with Iran to settle disputes over outstanding debt as well as the possibility of restoring export guarantees by Euler Hermes Group for German companies, Stefan Seibert, a spokesman for the administration, said on Monday. Germany may double its exports to Iran to about 4.8 billion euros ($5.2 billion) with German’s clean-energy companies standing to gain alongside other machine makers, BDI estimates.

While it’s placing its biggest hopes in modernizing its oil industry, Iran is also seeking investment for its renewable energy projects as it moves to fulfill climate protection targets. The Ministry of Energy in December set a target of 5 percent or 5 gigawatts for clean energy as a share of all power by 2020. Its ambition is to cut carbon pollution of as much as 12 percent.

Iranian feed-in-tariffs for wind power, revised in March last year, vary between 0.13 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour and 0.20 U.S. cents, according to the web site of Iran Wind, an industry group in Tehran. Onshore wind power’s potential capacity in Iran may be as large as 40 gigawatts, according to the Ministry of Energy’s SUNA renewable-power unit.

That’s a cue for Nordex and other clean-energy companies. Nordex is buying Acciona SA’s wind business as it seeks markets outside its European base and to create scale amid expectations that the market will increasingly favor bigger competitors. Germany is auctioning onshore wind and solar power from 2017, adding pressure on costs for future bidders in the market.

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