People's Daily Overseas Edition: SEP, Enemalta Jointly Develop Wind Power Project in Montenegro

(Xinhua News) It is currently rainy season in March for Montenegro. Despite heavy rain and strong wind, Li Jianchao, Deputy CEO of International Renewable Energy Development Ltd(IREDL), is in a good mood, as the first batch of 13 wind turbine generators (WTGs) for Mozura Wind Power Project have arrived at Bar port in Montenegro.


Mozura Wind Power Project in Montenegro is a renewable project jointly developed by SEP and Enemalta.


In December 2014, SEP signed an official energy cooperation agreement with the Maltese government with a total investment of 320 million euros, including 100 million euros to acquire 33.3 percent shares of Enemalta PLC.


In line with the planning of EU, Malta is required to generate 10 percent of renewable energy in the total energy consumption by 2020. In order to assist Malta in realizing the goal, SEP (Malta) Holding Ltd. (SEPM) and Enemalta established a joint venture of IREDL, in which SEPM holds 70 percent shares.


Nevertheless, IREDL has an eye beyond the local market in Malta, with a plan to develop 300 MW of renewable energy projects in Europe within five years.


Mozura Wind Power Project is the first selected project and the first oversea step by SEPM and Enemalta.


In April 2016, IREDL, Vestigo, a British fund management company, and Envision Energy, a Chinese energy enterprise, jointly founded Malta Montenegro Wind Power JV Ltd.


At that time, SEPM possessed a quite strong influence thanks to its deep exploration in Maltese energy market.


"Enemalta used to suffer from severe losses before SEP joined in and changed everything. Now we are making profits and have our own business model," said Enemalta Chairman Fredrick Azzopardi, "Wind power is one type of clean energy, and our company could expand abroad through this opportunity. That is why we decided to do this project with SEP after we knew more about it."


Based on respective advantages, SEPM and Enemalta divided their work as follows: Maltese side was in charge of coordinating the cooperation with the government of Montenegro, while SEP focused on financing and technical parts.


However, the project was stuck in slow progress due to differences in national conditions.


"Montenegro has different language, culture, legal system, etc. from both China and Malta, thus it causes a significant impact on working efficiency," said Li Jianchao, "It usually takes 12-15 months to construct a wind power plant in China, but this project costs us almost three years."


Despite the above-mentioned facts, all the involved parties attempted to resolve differences through the business model and to push forward the project in view of a win-win cooperation prospect.


In November 2017, Mozura Wind Power Project in Montenegro completed share transfer process, indicating that the project has been officially controlled by SEPM. The first concrete date (FCD) for WTG foundations took place on December 7, marking the official work commencement for the project.


"This is a multi-win situation, benefiting all parties involved, including Malta, SEP and Montenegro," Fredrick Azzopardi told Xinhua reporter.


The 40 MW Mozura Wind Power Project could not only help Montenegro, a country along the Belt and Road, increase the proportion of clean energy, but also create more jobs and promote local economic development.


"The project is well-known in Montenegro, which led to almost 200 new local job opportunities in the infrastructure construction phase," said Li Jianchao, "After commercial operation, the annual power output of the project will account for 5 percent of the total power output in Montenegro, making contributions to the economic development of local society."


In the viewpoint of Maltese government, Enemalta will transform into a regional energy operator in Europe thanks to the project, which is of great help to improve the company’s credit rating.


"Mozura Wind Power Project is a flagship project of Enemalta, which proved that the strategic change in Ministry of Energy in Malta is paying off and marked an important milestone in the development of Ministry of Energy in Malta," Joe Mizzi, Maltese Minister for Energy and Water Management told Xinhua reporter.


As far as SEPM is concerned, the project, as an active response to the Belt and Road Initiative, not only realized the phased objective of SEP in its European layout, but also could help related Chinese industries such as equipment, standard and service go global.


"We would like to accomplish two steps within five years. Now we have realized the strategy of taking Malta as the bridgehead. In the next step, we plan to take new energy project especially Mozura Wind Power Project as the sally port, to build our own platform in Balkan region, and to achieve regional development in Europe," said Sheng Baojie, CEO of SEPM.


At present, the project is running smoothly. "The second batch of WTGs is expected to arrive in early April. We are pushing forward the construction at the speed of concreting three WTG foundations every week. It is expected that the installation of WTGs will be completed by the end of August with the commercial operation starting this winter," Li Jianchao told Xinhua reporter.

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