3 big investments in Irish renewables this week

26 Feb 2021

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This week saw a number of major developments announced in the renewables sector in Ireland.

Activity in the renewable energy market is ramping up in Ireland, and there were three big investment announcements this week from Greencoat Renewables, SSE Renewables and NTR.

Today (26 February), Greencoat Renewables revealed that it has agreed to acquire an 89.6MW windfarm in Co Kerry from Cubico Sustainable Investments. The acquisition is expected to close in April 2021.

The Cordal windfarm consists of 28 3.2MW General Electric turbines that reached full commercial operations in May 2018.

Greencoat said the windfarm’s revenues are contracted under the REFIT 2 scheme, “providing a long-term guaranteed minimum floor price for the electricity generated until 2032”. General Electric will continue to manage the operations and maintenance contract.

This is Greencoat Renewables’ second acquisition in as many weeks. Earlier this month, the Dublin-headquartered renewable infrastructure company announced its plans to acquire a windfarm in Finland for approximately €60m, marking its first transaction in the Nordic market.

Strong winds

It was also reported this week that SSE Renewables plans to spend up to €6bn building offshore windfarms around the Irish coast.

The company’s chief executive, Alistair Phillips-Davies, told The Irish Times that SSE Renewables plans to build windfarms off the coasts of Louth and Wicklow and in the Celtic sea. It is beginning with a project on the Arklow Bank, where initial turbines could produce 520MW of electricity by 2025.

Outside of windfarm deals, this week we also reported on technology advancements that aim to improve the wind energy sector.

Researchers at CeADAR and SSE Airtricity developed a new system that uses AI to predict the amount of renewable energy that will be produced at windfarms. Elsewhere, Dublin-based wind resource assessment company BrightHub launched a new open data platform that aims to help analysts and researchers “better understand the wind in Ireland”.

Solar and battery power

In another area of renewables, NTR revealed earlier this week that it acquired a 54MW portfolio of co-located solar and battery storage projects in Co Wexford from renewable energy developer RES.

The portfolio comprises 29MW-capacity solar photovoltaic projects and two 25MW battery storage projects connected to the Irish grid.

These projects were acquired by the NTR Renewable Energy Income Fund II, a wind, solar and energy storage fund that operates across a number of European markets. The total cost of the projects is around €29m and the portfolio will enter operations in 2022.

This latest acquisition brings renewable energy assets under management by NTR to more than 600MW of wind, solar and battery storage projects located throughout Ireland, France, Sweden, Finland and the UK.

NTR’s chief investment officer, Manus O’Donnell, said the mix of solar and battery storage rings “much-needed diversity” in renewable energy to the Irish grid.

“Co-location of solar and battery projects can be particularly effective, as they can share grid connections and obtain economies of scale,” he said. “In the future, they should be able to take further advantage of storing excess power produced on site and we expect to see more co-location of solar and battery storage throughout Europe.”

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic