Tuesday 18 June 2019

Irish wind farms set to change hands with Element Power on the block

Element Power is up for sale (stock image)
Element Power is up for sale (stock image)
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

A series of large Irish wind projects look set to change hands, with US operator Element Power up for sale.

SSE and ScottishPower are among the interested parties for the business - owned by US private-equity business Hudson Clean Energy Partners - according to a report in renewables publication Sparkspread.

Element Power has an office in Cork and wind projects at various stages of development in Munster, Leinster and Ulster.

It is also running a separate sales process for an interconnector development project, known as Greenlink, which aims to connect Wexford to Pembrokeshire in Wales.

Sparkspread reported that interested parties in that process include UK-based Transmission Investment and Frontier Power.

Evercore is advising Element Power and may ultimately split the business up into different portfolios. As well as Ireland, the company also has operations in Britain. France, Sweden and the US, among other countries.

Splitting off the Irish operations - which also includes an Irish offshore wind development site - may help increase interest from the likes of Irish-listed Greencoat Renewables, which has just raised more than €100m of fresh cash to pursue acquisitions, with more fundraising potentially to come.

Speaking about the offshore wind project, Element Power chief executive Mike O'Neill said Ireland "has an outstanding offshore wind energy resource that will play a key role in helping the country shift to a low carbon economy and increase its energy security, delivering benefits for Irish consumers and industry".

The offshore industry is in its infancy here, but various companies - including ESB - are aiming to establish a foothold as the cost of the technology required comes down.

"This site, in the relatively shallow waters of the east coast and near the large electrical demands of Dublin and the fast-growing data centre industry, is ideally located to be in the first wave of large-scale offshore projects to be built in Ireland to meet our 2030 renewable energy targets," Mr O'Neill added.

On Wednesday, Ireland's climate change advisory council said the country was "completely off course" to achieve its 2020 and 2030 climate-change targets. Denis Naughten, the minister with responsibility for climate action, said he acknowledged and shared the frustration.

Sunday Indo Business

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