Canadian firm Brookfield Renewable buys 17 Irish wind-energy projects

26 Mar 2014

Brookfield Renewable, one of the largest Canadian renewable-energy firms, has made a major push into Europe with the purchase of 17 Irish wind-energy projects worth an estimated €700m.

The company announced the deal as part of its acquisition of all of Bord Gáis’ energy business. A consortium that includes Brookfield Renewable, Centrica plc and iCON Infrastructure will acquire the non-wind assets of the Irish energy supplier.

Bord Gáis’ wind portfolio comprises 321MW of operating wind capacity across 17 wind projects in eight counties in both Ireland and Northern Ireland, which represents about 15pc of the installed wind capacity in Ireland, and includes some of the strongest onshore wind resources in Europe.  

According to its statement on the acquisition, Brookfield Renewable sees the purchase as its first step in entering an already competitive renewable market in Europe and, from an Irish perspective, see huge untapped potential for Ireland, with future growth expected to come from an additional 125MW of wind energy across projects already in construction, as well as an approximate 300MW wind-development pipeline.

Speaking about the workers on Bord Gáis’ renewable energy sites, president and CEO of Brookfield Renewable, Richard Legault, put any fears of job security to rest as the company intends to keep the workforce already in place. “This is truly a milestone investment for Brookfield Renewable.

“The Bord Gáis portfolio represents an ideal entry point into the European market, bringing with it high quality renewable assets and an experienced team of approximately 70 professionals with operating, development, technical, commercial, and finance expertise. Moreover, this first acquisition outside the Americas provides us with a strong foundation to build a scalable renewable-energy business in Europe.”

The company already owns and runs a number of renewable-energy centres in both North and South America and will see, with this acquisition, its operating portfolio of 320MW to exceed 500MW by 2015.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic