US independent power producer AES is to plough $400 million over the next five years into a recently-acquired 700 MW wind energy project pipeline.

AES has acquired Your Energy Ltd., a UK-based wind energy developer, and has also signed an agreement to acquire a 51 per cent stake in a wind portfolio from 3E, a Polish wind developer.

The investments – made by AES Wind Generation – came as AES announced that it has brought three European wind power projects into commercial operation in the first quarter of 2010.

The agreement with 3E marks AES Wind Generation’s entry into the Polish wind market.

“In line with our strategy to focus on high-growth renewable energy markets in Europe, these transactions expand AES Wind Generation’s portfolio within the UK and into Poland. With more than 200 MW in advanced-stage development, these investments will begin contributing to our growth in 2012 and beyond,” stated Paul Hanrahan, President and Chief Executive Officer of AES.

Of the $400 million equity investment planned for the pipeline, $120 million will be used to bring 200 MW of capacity into construction by the end of 2011. More than 300 MW of the pipeline of projects is located in the UK, and around 215 MW in Poland.

In the UK, AES Wind Generation plans to begin construction on 48 MW by the end of 2010. In Poland, it expects to begin construction on approximately 34 MW in 2010 and 120 MW in 2011.

“The YEL acquisition underscores AES Wind Generation’s commitment to wind in the UK, and effectively doubles its development portfolio,” said AES in a statement. “It also follows the completion of AES Wind Generation’s first UK wind project, 22 MW North Rhins in Scotland, which achieved commercial operation in January 2010.”