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Innogy expands to Ireland in onshore wind push

LONDON (Reuters) - Innogy <IGY.DE>, the recently spun off renewable energy, network and retail arm of German utility RWE, has opened an office in Ireland, where it wants to invest in existing and new onshore wind projects, the company said on Friday.

Innogy has 2 billion euros ($2.14 billion) to spend after raising the capital through its German stock listing in October and renewable energy projects are high on the list.

Innogy said it wants to grow in Ireland by building new onshore wind farms as well as buying operational ones.

"We are actively pursuing a number of different opportunities. Although some of the discussions are at an advanced stage, I am not able to disclose any further details at this time," said Cathal Hennessey, Innogy's newly appointed managing director for renewables in Ireland. He joined from solar power developer Lightsource.

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Innogy, Germany's largest energy company, is one of Europe's biggest renewable energy investors, owning 3.6 gigawatts (GW) of green energy projects and another 4.4 GW in development.

The opening of Innogy's office in Kilkenny will mark the company's, including RWE, first entry into Ireland and Hennessey said he will be recruiting staff as the business grows in Ireland.

Ireland plans to generate 40 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020, a target that requires yearly onshore wind capacity growth of 250 megawatts (MW), according to the Irish government.

(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; editing by Susan Thomas)