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Tilt Renewables sinks into the red as wind generation wanes

Tilt Renewables sinks into the red as wind generation wanes

By Paul McBeth

Nov. 2 (BusinessDesk) - Tilt Renewables, the wind and solar generation facilities which split from Trustpower last year, posted a first-half loss after weak wind generation on both sides of the Tasman sapped electricity production.

The Auckland-based company reported a loss of A$2.6 million, or 0.82 Australian cents per share, in the six months ended Sept. 30, compared to a profit of A$10.5 million, or 3.36 cents a year earlier. Revenue dropped 15 percent to A$75.5 million as electricity generation shrank 16 percent to 869 gigawatt hours, reflecting lower production than usual in the current period contrasted with unusually high generation in the year-earlier period.

"In addition to lower than expected wind speeds during the current period, the generation from the Snowtown wind farms in South Australia was reduced by around 20 GWh as a result of an AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator) imposed constraint from early July 2017," chief executive Robert Farron said in a statement. "This constraint operates at times of high wind in South Australia and when it is also determined by AEMO that there is insufficient synchronous generation available for system security."

Tilt was carved out from Trustpower last year as a separately listed entity to free up opportunities for cornerstone shareholder Infratil to invest in a range of renewable energy developments.

The company is focused on building the 54-megawatt hour Salt Creek Wind Farm by July next year, while its development activity has prioritised the 300 MWh Dundonnell Wind Farm which is due for an investment decision in mid-2018.

Tilt had net debt of $555 million and an unused $15 million funding line, having taken on extra debt to fund the Salt Creek development. As at Sept. 30, the company had cash of $102.4 million having reported a 53 percent slide in operational cash flow to $32.1 million, while lifting spending on investments to $19.1 million.

Farron said the company is also investigating options to meet the growing demand for energy storage, and is considering large-scale battery storage technology as well as "more traditional forms of energy firming such as peaking generation, pumped hydro storage and firming contracts."

The board declared an interim unfranked and unimputed dividend of 1.25 Australian cents per share, payable on Dec. 8 to shareholders on the register at the close of trading on Nov. 24, down from 3 cents a year earlier.

"The dividend has been within the group's target dividend payout range, with the reduced amount considered prudent by the board based on the impact of lower production over the last six months and the opportunities which are currently being investigated by the business," Farron said.

The dual-listed shares last traded at $1.94 on the NZX, largely unchanged this year.



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