But it is also possible to acquire new assets, a new virtual utility of sorts by directly purchasing generation capability. Munich, the Bavarian capital, had never given up its municipal utility, the Stadtwerke Munchen. Munchen decided to plan, develop and operate solar farms, with renewable company Gehrlicher Solar AG. The aim is to generate in two initial projects 30MW in capacity, part of a strategy to supply all Munich households with renewable electricity (Witt, 2008).
Virtual renewable energy utilities can be created by virtue of public-private partnerships, investing in renewable assets in wind, geothermal or sun energy, acquiring know-how and beginning the process of converting its internal and external power infrastructure into non-fossil, non-nuclear assets, saving billions of dollars in years and decades to come. As an example, off its east coast, the UK not only plays catch-up with its less windy but far more wind – powered neighbour to the south-west, Germany, but also lays the groundwork for a 100 per cent renewable London. Both the London Array, and one of the world’s largest wind farms, the 504MW capacity, 140-turbine Greater Gabbard project, are due to commence operation in 2011. They are being developed by Scottish & Southern Energy Plc, with Munich’s Siemens AG and Texas-based Fluor as the main contractors, for a total fee of $3 billion shared between both companies (Bergin, 2008).