Loss making wind farm sells for € 22 millionLisdowney wind farm in Co.Kilkenny is quite small at 9MW but it sold for a whopping 22.5 million last week to Greencoat Renewables. Although the company is solvent, the published accounts show it made a loss in 2017 of € 262,000 and € 59,000 the previous year. The accumulated losses now stand at €374,000. “This acquisition is in line with our strategy of acquiring high-quality wind farms in the Republic of Ireland, ” said Greencoat Capital.
There are signs that the days of lucrative profits for wind farm companies may be over. Gaelectric, one of the largest renewable companies in the country, are winding down and laying off staff. Windfarms owned by SSE Airtricity are also in financial difficulties. According to published accounts, Gartnaneane wind farm in Cavan and Meentycat in Donegal are both insolvent i.e. unable to pay their debts as they fall due. The financial statements state that both companies "are dependent on ongoing financial support from a fellow group company". Airtricity claims to provide 100% green energy to Irish homes, although quite how it separates the green electrons from the gas and coal generated electrons in the grid remains a mystery.
The National Development Plan for 2040 states that ESB, Bord na Mona and Coillte are currently planning to invest in renewable energy technologies. These companies have about 15% of the overall operational wind farm fleet in the State. They plan to continue to invest, predominantly in wind generation, over the coming years.
Derrybrien wind farm, one of the largest in Ireland, and owned by ESB made losses last year. Should these state run companies still be investing in unprofitable ventures ?
Liam Halligan points out in the Spectator that the era of easy money may be over and that it's no bad thing. Is there a big crunch on the way for wind farm companies ?
Ultra-low rates have also kept thousands of ‘zombie’ companies alive, so we have firms able only to pay debt-interest rather than clear actual debts. Around a quarter of a million struggling UK firms are in this situation, kept on life support by unnaturally low rates. Unable to invest and expand, they tie up resources that should be channelled into healthier firms. This helps to explain the low productivity and wages that have cursed the UK economy in the past ten years.