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Infinis wind farms remain on hold until after referendum

INFINIS Energy, chaired by former SSE boss Ian Marchant, has reported a solid operational performance since April but still has its two onshore wind projects on hold pending September's independence referendum.

"Both projects will only begin construction once the outcome of the Scottish referendum, and its potential effect on energy policy, is known," Infinis said yesterday.

It also noted that its wind farms had been becalmed, suffering a one-third drop in output, and impacted by lower prices in the market, but said its fleet "continues to maintain high levels of availability and is well placed to benefit from recovering wind speeds when they occur."

Mr Marchant received £687,000 in consultancy fees for helping the renewables company ahead of its stock market listing at 260p last November, according to the annual report published last month.

Three other non-executives received a combined £59,000.

The shares, which touched 200p in May, edged up 1.7p yesterday to 212p.

In an interim management statement covering the period since April 1, Infinis said its landfill gas business (LFG) had "partially offset" the lower speeds in the onshore wind business.

"LFG delivered strong output across the portfolio and satisfactory reliability levels," the company said.

"We exported 463 GWh (gigawatt hours) in the three months to June 30 compared to 476 GWh during the corresponding period in the prior year, a decline of 2.7 per cent which was slightly better than expectations.

"The proportion of electricity exported under the RO (renewables obligation) regime for the three months to June 30 was 84 per cent compared to 74 per cent for the comparative period in 2013."

The total average selling price for the quarter was £89.08 per megawatt hour, an increase of £4.24.

The onshore wind business exported 104 GWh in the quarter, all of it under the RO regime, around 50 GWh lower than the comparative period, with wind farm availability at 96 per cent.

Softer wholesale power prices, hit by the mild winter and lower gas prices, had reduced average selling price for wind power by £5.20 to £93.26 per megawatt hour.

But Infinis said: "We continue to make steady progress on the development pipeline and remain well on track to achieve our target of delivering 130-150MW in the next three years."

Infinis Energy's net debt had fallen to £527m, with cash at £99m, and the group was on track to maintain its dividend commitments, with the first payment due on August 28.

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