Impax in Talks to Invest in Finland’s Nascent Wind Farm Industry

Impax Asset Management Group Plc, overseeing about $3.5 billion, is in talks to buy wind farms in Finland where the country is seeking to catch up with European peers like Germany that have more than 100 times the capacity.

Impax is in discussions with developers of onshore projects that it may be able to acquire in the next six months to a year, Chief Executive Officer Ian Simm said in an interview in London.

“Regulations in Finland are relatively new so there isn’t that much competition and not many deals have been done so it’s quite a nascent market,” he said. “Not that many institutional investors appear to be targeting it at the moment so it’s an early mover opportunity.” Impax closed its second 330 million euro ($428 million) private-equity fund in September 2011.

Finland had 288 megawatts of installed wind capacity at the end of 2012, trailing Germany with 31,308 megawatts and Spain with 22,796, according to European Wind Energy Association data. The Finnish government plans to raise electricity consumption from wind power to 6 percent of its total demand by 2020, or about 6 terawatt-hours, from the current level of 1 percent.

Onshore wind generators in Finland receive feed-in tariffs, or premium payments, of about 105 euros a megawatt-hour.

While Finland won’t bring its capacity to the level of top European producers, its reliance on hydropower may curb the cost of generating power needed to back up the intermittent supplies from wind, said Mauricio Bermudez Neubauer at Accenture Plc.

“Wind energy is growing fast in Finland and the country has big plans for it,” the wind-power analyst said.

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