* Raises $1 mln vs $50 mln targeted in campaign costing mlns
* Blames locals' lack of cash, complexity of documentation
By Vera Eckert
FRANKFURT, Dec 3 Power grid operator TenneT
has failed to persuade Germans to fund a wind power
line along the North Sea coast, the company said on Friday,
raising a fraction of the targeted cash in a campaign that cost
TenneT signed up just 142 people for a total 833,000 euros
($1,100,000) of shares, having hoped to raise up to 40 million
euros, or 15 percent of its total investment budget for a 150-km
(90-mile) north-to-south line in Schleswig-Holstein state.
The Dutch state-owned company needs billions of euros to
upgrade power lines and lay cables to help Germany's move to
renewables and had wanted to get locals on board. With or
without that, TenneT is locked into the switch from nuclear
energy - its lines cover 40 percent of the country.
People were either too short of money, saw it as too risky
or did not like the deal's complexity - made necessary because
of specifications under financial law, TenneT said.
"We don't see this as a failure and believe our experience
is valuable enough for the new government to further develop the
idea of citizen participation," a TenneT spokeswoman said.
The line is part of a national grid expansion plan pursued
by Chancellor Angela Merkel's government mainly to bring wind
power from the north to consumers in the south.
TenneT had invited 160,000 households near the planned line
to sign up for investments of a minimum 1,000 euros each, and
related campaigns, road shows, adverts and administration had
cost TenneT less than 10 million euros, the spokeswoman said.
The German government in July officially backed plans for
so-called citizen's bonds to be issued to the public, to raise
money and stimulate acceptance for the energy
This and other schemes were hotly debated in the run-up to
national polls in September, with some analysts and consumer
groups saying they saw poor returns and risks.
"Unlike savings deposits, these investment propositions are
not totally secured against total loss," said Guenter Hoermann,
managing director of the consumer association of
Schleswig-Holstein's port city of Hamburg.
Hoermann also said investors did not like the fact that they
could not withdraw cash from the scheme except by selling the
bonds through an exchange. "It is uncertain what they would be
getting at that moment," he said.
By contrast, more than a million Germans own wind or solar
power units or shares in municipal and co-operative schemes to
operate power plants and grids.
Mel Kroon, chief executive of the Dutch publicly listed
parent company, told Reuters last month he remains on the
look-out for partnerships and institutional
($1 = 0.7377 euros)
(Editing by Louise Ireland)