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RWE snaps up slate of Polish offshore wind projects

German utility RWE AG acquired a slate of offshore wind projects in Poland, marking the latest move by a prominent developer into the country's burgeoning offshore wind sector.

The deal covers a development pipeline of up to four projects with a combined capacity of more than 1.5 GW located around the Slupsk Bank area in the central Polish Baltic Sea, RWE announced Oct. 24. The company plans to start construction as early as 2023 and will operate the projects after commissioning.

RWE said it bought stakes in the project companies from several private owners, but it did not disclose a value for the transaction.

The purchase comes only days after Denmark's Ørsted A/S, the largest offshore wind operator in the world, disclosed it is negotiating to acquire a 50% stake in two offshore wind projects in Poland being developed by PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna SA.

Building offshore wind farms is part of the Polish government's plan to diversify the country's power sector, which still relies heavily on coal. Lawmakers are set to finalize a legal framework for subsidizing the wind parks in the coming months.

The acquisition also marks RWE's first major renewables deal since taking over the green power business of rival E.ON SE as part of an asset swap that saw both companies drastically rearrange their respective businesses.

"Poland is a very attractive emerging market for offshore wind, and one with the best untapped potential in Europe," Sven Utermöhlen, COO for Europe, offshore and new markets in RWE's renewables division, said in a statement.

RWE now has more than 9,000 MW of installed capacity, including 2,500 MW of offshore wind farms in Europe. The company plans to spend up to €3 billion annually, including project partnerships, to grow its green power portfolio.