Italians are Using Wind Power to Reach America Again

Last week, we highlighted Enel (NASDAQOTH: ENLAY  ) and now we wanted to discuss Enel Green Power (NASDAQOTH: ELPSF  ) , the biggest renewable energy company in Italy. For those not too familiar with these names, Italy only derives only 20% of its energy domestically, so the renewable story is bigger than most investors realize.

Though, rather than only focus on its home turf with so much political uncertainty, Enel Green Power has been quietly beefing up exposure in the US. Most recently, the company announced it will be investing $250mln  in a 150 MW wind warm. The move into US wind may surprise a lot of investors considering the domestic wind PTC expires at year-end. The strong commitment by Enel Green Power therefore could be viewed as a high-stakes game of roulette with $250mln on black.

However, as I've said here before, wind must be part of our energy future here in the States, so Enel Green Power is looking more long-term with expectations to make the US comprise more of its overall power generation by 2017 -- 17%, up from 15% in 2012. Siemens (NYSE: SI  ) was just awarded two wind contracts off the North Sea island of Juist, and France's Alstom (NASDAQOTH: ALSMY  )  just completed the world's largest offshore wind turbine in Belgium so the U.S. moving away from wind is clearly not following various other global initiatives to support the energy source. That may soon change and Enel Green Power could be a play ahead of the mainstream crowd. 

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  • Report this Comment On December 04, 2013, at 1:19 PM, FoolTheRest wrote:

    <<The move into US wind may surprise a lot of investors considering the domestic wind PTC expires at year-end. The strong commitment by Enel Green Power therefore could be viewed as a high-stakes game of roulette with $250mln on black.>>

    This should not come as a surprise nor be treated with the hyperbole of casino comparisons. If the project already has the power purchase agreement(s) in place, the interconnect agreement in place, and permitting largely complete, these late stage projects have had considerable risk removed. It is even more so if engineering is nearing completion and agreements are in place for major equipment and contractors.

    The issue of expiring PTCs this year is likely why Enel is beginning work now. IRS guidance allows them through 2015 if they begin now. This step ensures they qualify.

    Couple these with the project location in a state with great wind resources and friendly government; this may be among the least-risky energy ventures right now for Enel.

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