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Germans join power grid venture

Germans join power grid venture

DUESSELDORF, Germany, June 24 (Reuters) – German renewable energy companies want to take part in the reorganisation of the German power grid, the head of German solar energy company SolarWorld said.
SolarWorld, other German renewable energy companies as well as the German Solar Industry Association (BSW) have agreed on a plan to take a stake of 24.9 percent in a mooted electricity network that would group all German power grids, SolarWorld Chief Executive Frank Asbeck said late on Monday.
The energy sector has discussed for months the idea of combining the networks of Germany’s four biggest operators — E.ON, RWE and Vattenfall — but the details need to be worked out.
Germans refer to the possible power grid venture as Netz AG or “Network Inc”.
E.ON, Europe’s largest utility, was first to break ranks with peers and to agree to divest its long-distance, high-voltage power grid in a surprise move in February.
“We want to be part of Netz AG and bid for E.ON’s stake,” SolarWorld CEO Asbeck said, adding that the move could be financed through a fund in cooperation with a German bank.
SolarWorld, an integrated player which makes everything from solar-grade silicon to solar panels, was not interested at present in acquisitions, Asbeck said.
“We are not buying anything,” Asbeck said, adding that he expects consolidation in the industry to accelerate after Robert Bosch, the world’s biggest automotive supplier, announced plans to buy German solar company Ersol.
SolarWorld was also not interested in stricken Conergy, whose CEO recently said his company would be an attractive takeover target once restructuring was done.
SolarWorld expects operating earnings and sales to grow 25 to 30 percent this year.
Asbeck said the company’s order backlog up to 2018 from solar cell makers for solar wafers rose to more than 6 billion euros ($9.3 billion) from a first-quarter level of 5.5 billion euros.

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