Uncertainty surrounds Senvion
19th April 2019
Chalpat Sonti, spec.com.au
German-based wind turbine maker Senvion has operations around the world and recently filed “preliminary self-administration” proceedings in its homeland.
Senvion Australia is responsible for 14 projects in this country, including operating and servicing the Pacific Hydro-owned wind farms locally at Capes Nelson, Sir William Grant and Bridgewater.
It is also building the Murra Warra wind farm project being built near Horsham, components for which are being imported through the Port of Portland.
Senvion Australia employs 10 people at its Portland service centre, who work in maintenance and service roles for the three local wind farms.
A Senvion Australia spokeswoman told the Observer that its “dedicated and experienced” Portland staff were continuing their local service and maintenance activities.”Senvion Australia remains committed to the safe operation of the wind farms it services,” she said.
“Senvion is working closely with wind farm operators to keep them updated about the transformation program that is currently underway.”
Under German law, self-administration allow a company to manage its own restructuring in insolvency procedures, being able to remain trading with its board and management in place.
The parent company, which was called Repower until 2014, announced in March that it was undergoing a “transformation process” which would see it leave 30 of the 50 countries it was operating in, though it would remain in Australia.
It both manufactures wind towers and operates them under full-service agreements.
According to reports Senvion has been a victim of increasingly competitive practices in many markets which have driven power prices down as well as the cost of equipment.
The major players in the wind turbine manufacturing industry worldwide include Vestas and Siemens Gamesa.
Senvion chief executive Yves Rannou said the company was discussing financing options and the self-administration was to “safeguard the transformation program.”
“Various potential investors” had expressed an interest in the company.
“We aim to use the self-administration proceedings to focus on restoring a profitable and sustainable business for our group faster,” he said.
Rueters newsagency reported that financial industry sources have told it Senvion needs about $158 million in the short term to stay afloat.
Murra Warra Wind farm’s future is uncertain
20th April, 2019
Dean Lawson, The Weekly Advertiser.
Speculation surrounding Murra Warra Wind Farm development north of Horsham continues as one of the major companies involved in the project works through significant financial issues.
Turbine supplier and installer Senvion Australia released a brief statement yesterday, saying it ‘has been working closely with the project team to support the safe delivery of the Murra Warra Wind Farm’.
The German-based company was unwilling to expand on the Wimmera project, other than to provide details of its April 9 media release saying it was ‘accelerating’ a ‘transformation program, launched in January, with a self-administered restructuring plan’.
The release included a declaration that – ‘business operations shall be continued; a goal of full recovery remained; and a financing offer was in process of being discussed between lenders and bond holders’.
What this means about the future of the two-stage, 116-turbine wind-farm project remains unclear.
Murra Warra Wind Farm project, developed by RES Australia and owned by Partners Group, has an engineering, procurement and construction contract with Senvion GmbH and Downer Utilities Australia.
A Telstra-led consortium of energy users also including the ANZ Bank, Coca-Cola Amatil and the University of Melbourne, signed a power-purchase agreement from the wind farm in 2017.
Construction of a 61-tower stage one is well underway and giant towers are dramatically changing the plains landscape between Horsham and Warracknabeal.
The 226-megawatt, $247-million first stage of the project is scheduled to be providing power equivalent to meeting the needs of 220,000 houses to the electricity grid by August.
Project engineers had ‘energised’ or completed operational work on four wind towers late yesterday and in ideal circumstances expect to complete two towers a week as part of a commissioning process.
Wind farm communications officer Susan Findlay-Tickner acknowledged the speculation but said it was a case of ‘business as usual’ at the site.
“The Murra Warra Wind Farm site has been energised and this allows for the necessary turbine testing and commission before exporting electricity to the grid,” she said.
“The site energisation marks a significant project milestone and will ensure the first section of the project will be fully operation and generating electricity by the middle of the year.”
There are no guarantees in place for construction of a 55-tower second stage.