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SSE enters Germany with purchase of 134-MW onshore wind pipeline

SSE Renewables Ltd. has set foot in the German onshore wind market for the first time, buying a 134-MW development portfolio from Holt Holding SA, it said Dec. 11.

The move is its first venture outside of the U.K. and Ireland, where it has developed nearly 2.5 GW of onshore wind and has plans for a further 1 GW, along with an offshore wind pipeline of over 7 GW.

"Whilst a small investment compared to our significant offshore wind pipeline, this first step will help provide more detailed insight into an adjacent market with significant growth potential," said Jim Smith, managing director of the SSE PLC subsidiary.

The company added that Germany "has been a leading onshore wind market for many years," and said that it expects continued growth in the country in order for it to meet national targets for renewable generation. The country's "ongoing renewable[s] support scheme" is another reason why SSE ventured into Germany, the company told S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The five projects within the portfolio still require permits — a process that can be time-consuming and costly in a country where many wind farms are challenged by local residents or anti-wind groups. Once permitted, the projects are "expected to be eligible to enter the German onshore wind auction and bid for fixed price contracts of 20 years," SSE said.

SSE did not disclose where in the country the projects will be developed, and said timelines for development vary between the projects. Germany is likely to introduce distance requirements for onshore wind turbines next year. The state of Bavaria already operates the so-called 10H rule, where turbines need to be placed a distance of at least 10 times their height away from residential properties.

Asked whether it plans to move into other geographies in the future, SSE said, "Extending SSE Renewables' core competencies in renewable energy to other countries presents significant potential to add to future growth opportunities. SSE Renewables continues to actively explore opportunities in new markets to grow its portfolio."