Karlsruhe. There are already more than 1.3 million local, often privately operated energy generation systems in Germany – the Energiewende has long become a collaborative citizen movement. Against this backdrop, EnBW Energie Baden-Wurttemberg AG is offering a simple investment scheme for the first time via its own Internet platform: citizens can support EnBW's wind power activities by investing money in a special fund held by an EnBW subsidiary, thereby securing the opportunity of a return of 2.5 percent over seven years.
Private investors now have the opportunity of benefiting from the economic success generated from a portfolio of onshore wind farms in which EnBW subsidiaries hold a majority stake. The portfolio consists of 17 wind farms with an installed capacity totalling approximately 156 megawatts. Two wind farms are situated in Baden-Württemberg, while the others are spread across the Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hessen and northern Germany.
Most of the farms were commissioned between 2010 and 2012 and have already delivered proof of their reliability.
"We would like to offer our fellow citizens a simple option for participating in the success of re-newable energies, while, at the same time, supporting EnBW in its further expansion measures." explained Ingo-Peter Voigt, Senior Vice President and Head of Finance/Investor Relations EnBW, intends to have raised its generation capacity from onshore wind farms to approximately 1,000 megawatts by the year 2020. Up until now, municipalities, municipal utilities and cooperatives have been involved in endeavours to gain partners and broaden the basis – which is now to be extended by including citizens. All in all, the share of renewable energies in EnBW's generation mix is to be more than trebled, from 12 percent today to almost 40 percent by 2020.
This is how the investment scheme works: The first step involves providing detailed information via the Internet platform at www.enbw.com/buergerbeteiligung. Interested parties should register their names and e-mail addresses on the platform. Once registration has been confirmed, the contractual documentation will be made available for downloading and viewing and can be printed out for the purpose of signing. Anyone wishing to invest an amount of between € 1,000 and € 10,000 should send the signed contract to the EnBW subsidiary. After verification, counter signing and providing the contract in electronic form, it will enter into force and interest of 2.5 percent p.a. will be paid at half-yearly intervals into the account of the investor. After seven years, i.e. at the end of November 2021, the amount invested will be paid back. The overall volume of the investment has been capped at € 2 million; subscription is due to commence on 20 October 2014.
The scheme takes the form of a "subordinated loan with qualified subordination", which puts it among hybrid financing forms comparable with profit participation rights and silent participation. The associated risk is therefore that of losing the investment should the EnBW subsidiary in question become insolvent. This risk arises if EnBW AG as the parent company also fails to meet its obligations to cover losses.
"The EnBW Group will in any event retain the majority of the shares in this wind energy portfolio, and our maintenance and support of the farms are also contractually secured over the long term," emphasised Ingo-Peter Voigt. The company views the offer, which has now been posted online, as a test of acceptance. "We are now gathering experience. If the response to the offer is good, I could well imagine that we will intensify our use of this instrument."