EXPRESS #4 - June 19, 2018
Renewables: Innogy expands in U.S., EnBW in France, Norway mulls offshore wind expansion
The new Innogy – of which Eon took over most of the shares from RWE – seems ready to go.
After Eon announced on 11 June that the financing of the €5 bn deal has been closed, a week later Innogy announced a development deal with U.S. solar developer Birdseye, covering 440 MW of future capacity of utility-scale solar in the South Eastern U.S.
This further expands Innogy’s presence in U.S. renewables. In December Innogy bought EverPower’s 2 GW U.S. onshore wind pipeline. The two deals follow the founding in 2016 of Innogy Renewables US, based in Chicago, which is pursuing US offshore wind opportunities in addition to onshore renewables.
Earlier in 2016 Innogy bought U.S. solar installer Belectric. “Solar power is one of the fastest growing technologies in the energy sector and is becoming increasingly profitable without subsidies in many markets,” commented Hans Bünting, Innogy’s chief operating officer for renewables. “This strategic partnership with Birdseye is an excellent starting point for us to develop and grow a valuable solar business in the US,” Bünting says.
Another German utility company, EnBW, announced on 18 June that it is entering the French onshore wind and PV markets.
“German utility EnBW plans to develop onshore wind parks in France alone and in cooperation with partners through a local unit called EnBW Energies Renouvelables that is currently being set up”, Recharge News reports.
“We want to grow in France organically and possibly also inorganically in the area of onshore wind and PV,” said Dirk Güsewell, head of portfolio development at EnBW.
France last year added a record 1.69GW new onshore wind capacity – bringing its cumulative total to 13.76GW – but expansion there has been slower than in other nations due to tight regulations and bureaucracy, notes Recharge News. “There is a boom currently of foreign players entering the French onshore wind market, which still offers higher prices at wind energy tenders than, for example, in neighbouring Germany or Spain.”
Recharge News also reports that Norway’s government is mulling an offshore wind build-out. According to Recharge, Norway’s energy minister Terje Søviknes will meet with energy industry representatives to discuss a possible build-out of offshore wind in Norway.
“Norway currently has only the 2.3MW Hywind 1 floating wind turbine prototype up and running that has been commissioned in 2009. But so far Oslo had abstained from larger developments due to their high costs in a country with an almost abundant hydro-power potential and some of the cheapest prices for onshore wind in Europe.”
However, Recharge notes that “state-owned oil and gas firm Equinor (formerly Statoil), is one of the major players in offshore wind, and last year commissioned the 30MW Hywind pilot array off Scotland, the world’s first commercial floating offshore wind farm. As the Norwegian shelf falls off very rapidly and is very deep, floating offshore wind in most places off the country seems more feasible than bottom-fixed offshore wind.”