France’s Neoen says it has bought eight wind farms in the Irish Republic with a total capacity of 53 megawatts for €25.8 million.
All of the wind farms are selling their output under long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs).
Neoen has a development business in Ireland and is working with the Dublin government to raise its renewable energy and interconnection targets, with Eire expected to miss its 2020 targets.
The contribution to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) from the wind farms would be insignificant this year, Neoen said. It would, therefore, keep its annual guidance unchanged. From 2020, the Irish wind farms will be generating about €5 million of annual Ebitda before any optimisation or repowering investments, it estimated.
“Ireland has a very high potential for the development of renewable energy, boosted by the achievement of grid parity,” said Neoen chief executive Xavier Barbaro.
The target is grid parity when renewable energy costs equate to the commercial, wholesale markets. It opens the way for the development of non-subsidised renewables backed by power-purchase deals, which is a specialism for Neoen.
The French company said the farms had been built at wind-rich locations with significant repowering potential.
The Irish wind farms, with an enterprise value of €46 million, were acquired from the Irish Infrastructure Fund and Energia Group.
The sites were commissioned between 1998 and 2012.
Neoen said it was looking at fresh offtake deals while exploring “promising repowering potential for the oldest of these assets, in order to better tap the wind resources”.
Electricity interconnection to France and the UK would be “critical to absorbing high levels of renewable generation on to the system”, the Irish authorities said.
The 700-megawatt Celtic Interconnector to France is expected to be operational by 2026.
The French firm said it had 2.8 gigawatts of renewable capacity in operation or under construction in France, Australia, Mexico, El Salvador, Argentina, Finland, Zambia, Jamaica and Portugal.
Neoen says it runs Europe’s largest solar farm in Cestas, France, and the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in Hornsdale, Australia.
Neoen last month said its Victoria plant was operating “slightly above” expectations hopes to build 3 gigawatts of renewable developments in Australia.
The Numurkah solar farm took a year to build and employed about 300 people during the construction.
Its 128 megawatt-capacity includes 373,839 photovoltaic panels over 515 hectares. It intends to partly power Melbourne’s tram network.
Neoen has invested heavily in renewables globally. Picture credit: Pexels