The world’s most famous toy company, Lego, recently announced a massive investment in wind energy. Kirkbi A/S, the family holding company that owns Lego, will be buying wind turbines for almost $532 million for a 32 percent stake in DONG Energy‘s 277-megawatt Borkum Riffgrund 1 wind farm, which is scheduled to be fully operational in 2015.
According to the company, this move will ensure all the energy the company needs through 2020. This project means that Lego will be allowed to use a customer label certifying that it uses wind energy. For DONG Energy, this deal represents a key widening of its investor base to include corporate groups for the first time.
Reuters reports that according to Kirkbi Chief Executive, Soren Thorup Sorensen, “This investment supports the Lego Group’s ambitious environmental goals.” This investment will be paid over the next four years as this is a sizeable investment even for Lego which reported a high net profit last year.
Although the group has factories in Denmark, Mexico, the Czech Republic and Hungary, the power will go into the German grid and will be assimilated into the general power supply. Lego is not entirely interested in generating wind energy for its own use according to its spokesperson. They instead want to make sure that they support renewable energy suppliers. DONG Energy is the world’s leader in offshore wind farms. They have 1.3 GW of capacity in operation and about 1.1 GW under construction. They have brought financial investors into two wind projects each in Denmark and the UK.
According to DONG Energy’s Chief Executive Anders Eldrup, “One and a half years ago, we opened the door for pension funds to come in as investors. The door we open today is for a new kind of investor to get into the renewable energy sector, offshore wind. This is the first time we are doing this with corporates.”
To diversify risk, DONG built two wind parks and divested 50% of each rather than building one and owning all of it. The project in Borkum Riffgrund will contain about 77 Siemens wind turbines, each with the capacity of 3.6 MW. This is said to supply enough power for more than 285,000 households. The facility will be built 35 miles off the northwest coast of Germany, in the North Sea and construction will begin in 2013. It is expected to start generating power in 2014, which means two years from now Lego could be ‘Made by Wind.’
Image Credit: Stefan-Xp Wikimedia Commons