* Sees sector on solid course to freeing itself of support
* Long-term energy investments match insurer obligations
* Launches 100 million euros green energy fund
FRANKFURT, April 25 Renewable energy production
and infrastructure are gaining investor appeal as they become
less dependent on government support in more European markets,
the asset management arm of insurer Allianz said on Thursday.
Allianz, Europe's biggest insurer, has been
investing billions of euros of policy holder funds in renewable
"These investments either offer attractive feed-in tariffs,
are already at grid parity (competitive with conventional
energy) or are going in that direction," Armin Sandhoevel, chief
investment officer for renewables at Allianz Global Investors,
told a press briefing in Frankfurt.
"That is also the future of the market, it will make it
bigger and more comfortable for institutional investors."
Spanish and Italian wind or solar installations were the
most advanced in terms of profitability while those in the
Nordic countries, Britain, Germany, France and the Benelux would
be catching up, he said.
Sandhoevel, who was touting the new Allianz renewable fund
(AREF), which he manages, said that further advantages of a move
to green systems were the decoupling from rising global fuel
costs and proven viability of the new technologies, which
ensured long-term cash flows.
Institutional investors such as pension funds were looking
for a diversification away from government bonds at a time of
unattractive yields, Allianz executives said.
"Renewables and infrastructure represent a good match with
insurers' and pension funds' long-term obligations to policy
holders," said managing director Tobias Pross.
Allianz has collected 100 million euros ($129.95 million)
for the AREF fund so far, mainly from German investors in some
10 to 15 projects, and projects future yields after costs and
taxes at roughly 6 percent.
The fund invests in solar and onshore wind and some biomass.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Environment Minister
Peter Altmaier have been seeking ways to cut rising renewable
energy support, which consumers must pay for.
While the latest efforts to trim costs failed and are
unlikely to be renewed until after national elections in
September, such intervention was priced in, Sandhoevel said.
Green power output in Germany last year was 136 gigawatt
hours, totalling 22 percent of all power produced.
($1 = 0.7695 euros)
(Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Stephen Nisbet)