U.S. AES, new Turk partner to build 18 hydro projects

U.S. power developer AES Corp. has acquired 51 percent of Turkish hydropower developer IC ICTAS Energy Group, with whom it plans to invest US$600 million to build 18 hydropower projects in Turkey in the next four years.

AES announced the acquisition May 25, saying the remaining 49 percent will continue to be owned by IC Investment Holdings A.S. It said IC ICTAS owns and operates 26 MW of hydropower and has 390 MW under development.

“These 18 hydropower plants will have a combined 390 MW capacity,� IC ICTAS Chairman Ibrahim Cecen told a news conference. �Construction of four plants will begin this year and all of them will be in operation in 2010-2011.”

AES Vice President for Europe-Africa John McLaren told the news conference that AES-IC ICTAS also would develop coal, natural gas, and wind power projects in Turkey and consider taking part in the privatization of electricity grids next year.

McLaren said Turkey’s electricity demand would double in the next eight years and the fast-growing country suits the company’s investment portfolio. AES operates power plants of 40,000 MW worldwide and posted US$12 billion turnover last year.

�This will be an excellent platform for future expansion in Turkey and the adjacent region,� AES Chief Executive Paul Hanrahan said. �We are fortunate to be partnering with the well-established, experienced, and highly professional IC Energy team.�

AES also said it plans to increase its generating capacity by up to 6,500 MW around the globe by building and buying plants, which will lift its earnings through 2011. It said the increase mostly would be new plant construction, although a portion would come from acquisitions.

AES currently has five power plants under construction totaling 1,682 MW in four countries and 20,000 MW of potential new power plants worldwide under development.

“In acquisitions, we’re going to tend to focus on things that are slightly more difficult, that play to our strengths, and that would not have a lot of competition,” Hanrahan said.

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