o2 – From a green idea to a leading wind power player
March 22, 2010
Johan Ihrfelt, you are co-founder and CEO of the Swedish wind power company o2. Why are you involved in the company?
– My interest in wind power began almost six years ago when Thomas von Otter and I started what is now o2. Our venture was based on the realisation that it is essential to build out renewable energy for a sustainable future. The fact that it is a profitable business with great potential is also attractive from a commercial perspective.
But o2 goes back farther than that, doesn’t it?
– The company’s history is considerably longer. Our wind park development celebrates its 20th anniversary next year and we have a significant share of the most attractive wind locations in Sweden.
– With its long coastlines, mountainous and sparsely populated areas, Sweden has just about the best conditions for wind power that can be found in Europe. Today, wind power production in Sweden amounts to 3.0 TWh per year. Climate goals and political ambitions, the Swedish Parliament’s set objectives, and numerous forecasts all point to an expansion in wind power, estimated to reach 12–15 TWh by 2020.
You had planned to carry out a new share issue, arrange bank financing, list the company and ramp up your project portfolio, but recently you had to withdraw your IPO plans. Why?
– As interest did not prove sufficient to provide o2 with a broad shareholder base and ensure satisfactory trading in the share after listing, we will now continue as a privately held company. With the support of our core shareholders, we will continue the development of wind power in Sweden, perhaps at a slightly lower tempo.
What are your plans now?
– o2 has developed and built one-fifth of all the wind power plants in Sweden. We are the biggest electricity producer and owner of land-based wind power and that already gives us a stable and profitable business base. We will now review various financing options for further developing our exciting project portfolio.