Pacifico Energy launches second solar investment fund

Japanese solar power projects developer Pacifico Energy has launched its second solar investment fund, which raised JPY29bn ($264m) from Japanese institutional investors.

Known as Fund II, the investment fund will cover five Japanese solar power plants with a combined generating capacity totalling more than 216MWdc.

After acquiring its first 35MW solar plant in Tochigi Prefecture, the fund plans to purchase the remaining four solar plants next year.

Pacifico Energy chairman Nate Franklin said: “We are really pleased to launch our second solar fund and with the opportunity to partner again with Japanese institutional investors.

“Pacifico has been investing in Japanese mega-solar projects since its founding in 2012. We truly believe in the asset class and look forward to forming additional investment vehicles to provide investors access to stable returns through an eco-friendly clean energy platform.”

Pacifico Energy has also agreed to offer asset management services for these solar plants.

Nomura Securities and Goldman Sachs Japan served as the co-placement agents for Fund II while Baker McKenzie acted as legal counsel.

In 2017, the company launched its first solar investment fund (Fund I), which raised JPY15.5bn. Fund I also covered five Japanese solar power plants that had a combined capacity of more than 100MWdc.

Going forward, the company also intends to launch new renewable energy funds for developing its own solar projects and external solar assets.

Both funds are expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by an annual aggregate of 160,000t. In April, Pacifico initiated construction works for a solar power generation plant. /


AfDB approves $210m loan for Nigeria’s NTEP1 project

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved a $210m loan to support the Nigeria Transmission Expansion Project (NTEP1).

The project is part of a $1.6bn Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme (TREP) and executed by the Transmission Company of Nigeria.

As part of this initiative, the AfDB’s financing package will be provided to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

AfDB Nigeria senior director Ebrima Faal said: “Nigerians and their businesses spend $14bn annually on inefficient and expensive petrol or diesel-powered generators. This project will contribute significantly to the reduction of Nigeria’s power deficit, decrease air and noise pollution, and reduce the cost of doing business.”

The financing will be used to rehabilitate and upgrade the country’s electricity lines to improve power distribution and supply.

NTEP1 is aligned with the government’s strategic plans expressed in its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017-2020) and Power Sector Recovery Programme.

The power project will cover the states of Kano, Kaduna, Delta, Edo, Anambra, Imo and Abia, and improve the capacity and reliability of the Nigerian transmission grid.

Financing offered by the bank includes a $160m loan while the additional $50m loan will be offered through the Africa Growing Together Fund.

The project will involve the construction of 330kV double-circuit quad transmission lines, along with substations across the country.

Additionally, around 263km of 330kV lines will be upgraded. As part of the project, 204km of new lines will also be added to increase TCN’s wheeling capacity to stabilise the grid and reduce transmission losses.

Once completed, the project is expected to improve electricity supply in the country.

Furthermore, NTEP1 is expected to save nearly 11,460ktpa of carbon emissions that are released by the small-scale diesel generators while supporting Nigeria’s GHG emission reduction objective.

During the construction phases, the project is expected to create 1,500 employment opportunities and 500 during operations. /


JinkoSolar delivers 300MW solar modules for demonstration plant

/ Chinese photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer JinkoSolar has delivered its 300MW solar panels for a high-voltage demonstration plant in Qinghai province, China.

As part of the deal, JinkoSolar supplied its Tiger solar PV panels that have been designed to generate more output in real-world conditions such as partial shading and elevated temperatures.

JinkoSolar CEO Kangping Chen said: “As a top global module supplier, we are constantly innovating and improving the quality products and I am proud to have the opportunity to demonstrate their effectiveness by installing them for the first time on a ground-mounted utility project.

“Our Tiger panels are some of our most sought-after products due to their application of unique tiling ribbon technology, which removes any gaps between the cells, improving reliability and efficiency.”

In another development, JinkoSolar has delivered 950MW of its Cheetah 72-cell solar modules to PV plant developer X-ELIO.

The 950MW solar modules will be deployed by X-ELIO across two PV facilities located in Spain and Mexico.

Approximately 575MW of solar panels will be installed at 12 projects in Spain, including Ciudad Real, Badajoz, Albacete, Murcia, Almería, Sevilla, Cartagena, Valencia and Segovia. More than 375MW modules will also be installed at two projects in Veracruz and Navojoa, Mexico.

Chen added: “We are very pleased to have gained the trust and confidence of X-ELIO, one of the most professional and experienced developers and investors in the PV industry.

“Supplying their large-scale pipeline projects in Spain and Mexico with our ultra-high efficiency PERC Mono modules has allowed us to significantly expand our share of the Spanish and Mexican PV markets this year.” /


Saipem wins two offshore windfarm contracts worth €750m

Italian engineering firm Saipem has been awarded two contracts worth €750m to help build two windfarms off the coasts of Scotland and Taiwan.

The company will be responsible for the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of steel foundation jackets for the 54 8MW wind turbines at the Neart na Gaoithe offshore windfarm, a £1.4bn project set to be constructed near the Firth of Forth on the east coast of Scotland.

Neart na Gaoithe has a capacity of 450MW and is being developed by EDF Renewables, who reached the financial close on the project on the 28 November.

Saipem will build the same foundation jackets for the offshore electrical substation and will use its Saipem 7000 crane to conduct the installations. It will also construct the same steel foundation jackets for the 32 wind turbines of the Formosa 2 offshore windfarm in Taiwan.

Formosa 2 will have a capacity of 376MW when it is completed, and is owned by Macquarie Capital and Swancor Renewable Energy. Macquarie reached the financial close on the $2.05bn project on 30 October 2019.

Saipem is optimistic that the projects will aid both countries in reaching ambitious offshore wind power targets. Scotland currently produces 915MW of power through its offshore wind farms, and plans to increase this figure by 4.1GW; similarly, Taiwan aims to move from its first offshore installation, completed in 2016, to 5.7GW of production by 2025.

This is the first turnkey contract that Saipem has been awarded in the offshore wind sector. The €750m contract represents 15% of its EPC order intake in 2019, which Saipem stating that the contract consolidates its “position as a global solution provider to the extended energy sector.”

Saipem’s stock price is currently €4.24 on the Borse Italiana, giving the company a market capitalisation value of €4.28bn.

Saipem E&C Offshore Division COO Francesco Racheli said: “This EPCI contract awarded by EDF Renewables marks a key milestone in the pursuit of our strategy to become a reference player for large offshore windfarm developments and, more extensively, in the sphere of energy transition.

“This important achievement has been made possible thanks to our capabilities and expertise in engineering, fabrication and installation as well as to our assets, particularly suited to projects of this kind.

“Our collaboration with EDF Renewables and with the entire supply chain will allow us to contribute to the generation of 450 megawatts of green energy, fostering the utilisation of local supply chain and expertise to provide the most competitive solution to our stakeholders and clients and execute a successful project.” /


Enel starts operations at Magdalena II solar plant in Mexico

/ Enel’s renewable energy subsidiary Enel Green Power México (EGPM) has initiated operations at its 220MW Magdalena II solar facility in the state of Tlaxcala.

Located in the municipalities of Tlaxco and Hueyotlipan, Magdalena II is built with an investment of nearly $165m and features nearly 550,000 bifacial modules.

Enel Green Power CEO Antonio Cammisecra said: “Magdalena II supplies emission-free energy to the State of Tlaxcala and to companies that are looking for more sustainable energy options, underscoring our dedication to renewable energy and decarbonisation in line with our global commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“Construction of the facility also successfully implemented our sustainability approach, as made evident by the multiple initiatives we carried out to support local value creation as well as the rational use of resources.

“All of the above actions are in line with our permanent commitment to maximise stakeholder value through our operations as well as contributing to the sustainable development of Mexico’s electricity system.”

Magdalena II is expected to generate approximately 640GWh of energy per year, and offset about 350,000 tonnes of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

It will be the company’s first energy project in Mexico, where all the clean energy generated by the solar facility will be sold in the country’s wholesale electricity market to private off-takers.

With the completion of Magdalena II, EGPM currently has more than 2,300MW capacity, which includes 977MW of wind, 1,308MW of solar and 53MW of hydropower.

The company is also close to completing a further 593MW in wind projects, including Amistad II, III and IV, all of which are located in the state of Coahuila. /


Boralex signs renewable energy refinancing arrangement in France

/ Canadian renewable energy company Boralex has completed an agreement to refinance almost all of its windfarm operations in France for a total of $1.7bn.

The total amount has been divided among three credit agreements, which will mature in 2034, 2036 and 2040, respectively.

Boralex vice-president and chief financial officer Bruno Guilmette said: “This refinancing is a major step forward that will free up significant financial resources and reduce the cost of implementing our strategic plan.

“This refinancing operation increases our financial flexibility and creates an even stronger bond with our European financial partners, who have all expressed great confidence in our leadership and business model, for which I thank them.”

Boralex noted that financial resources of more than $178m that are immediately available will be used by the company to reduce its existing corporate credit facility.

Additionally, financing of $200m is also available for the construction of short-term projects. The company expects to receive a tranche of $180m which will be used for the construction of future projects by early 2020.

Once completed, the wind projects will include in the company’s portfolio of projects that benefited from the refinancing arrangement.

The financing was arranged by CIC, Bpifrance, Crédit Agricole, represented by Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank and Unifergie, along with the Caisse Régionale Nord de France, CaixaBank, and La Banque Postale.

Boralex Europe vice-president and general manager Nicolas Wolff said: “I’d like to thank the banks and our advisors for being such solid partners in this complex undertaking.

“The success of this refinancing arrangement, the largest in the renewable energy and wind sectors in France, is an expression of confidence in the future of Boralex and more broadly in the renewable energy sector.” /


Equinor, Masdar and ORE Catapult to share floating offshore wind data

/ Norwegian company Equinor and UAE-based Masdar have partnered with UK’s ffshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult to share floating offshore wind data.

As a result of this new partnership, operational data from the floating offshore wind farm Hywind Scotland will be available on ORE Catapult’s platform for operational data (POD) service.

Designed to present comprehensive data sets from offshore wind sites across the UK, the POD service will help improve understanding of offshore wind farms operations in real-world conditions.

The data will include information about the motions of the floating wind turbine, as well as loads in the mooring system and environmental data. It can be accessed for free from the POD data-sharing platform and used for supply chain businesses and academia.

ORE Catapult Operational Performance director Chris Hill said: “The inclusion of free-to-use operational data from Hywind Scotland will be a great addition to our POD service, and greatly enhance our offering to our users.

“Our POD service was the first to offer, for a nominal charge, open-access data sets from our operational offshore turbine based at Levenmouth for the benefit of the wider industry, academic and research communities, and we hope to expand the data sets available in the future.”

Subscribers of Equinor, Masdar and ORE Catapult will be able to access data from one of Hywind Scotland’s five turbines.

Through this new partnership, the companies aim to drive innovation in floating offshore wind and better engage industry, academia and the offshore wind supply chain in the UK and global market.

Equinor Floating Wind Development head Sebastian Bringsværd said: “This initiative shows Equinor’s strong commitment to supporting dissemination and education in the UK and abroad, as well as providing a platform for collaboration across the floating wind supply chain.

“Floating offshore wind is a cornerstone in our renewable strategy to become an offshore wind major and we believe this technology will play a key role in delivering the UK’s Sector Deal and decarbonisation goals.” /


The European Investment Bank to finance Cavar wind complex in Spain

/ The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide financing of €50m for the construction of the Cavar windfarm in Navarra, Spain. The windfarm will be built by Renovables de la Ribera, a 50/50 joint venture (JV) between the Spanish electric utility company Iberdrola and Caja Rural de Navarra.

Located between the municipalities of Cadreita and Valtierra, the Cavar complex will comprise four windfarms with a total capacity of 111 MW and will be operational in the first quarter of 2020.

EIB vice-president Emma Navarro said: “Spain has major renewable energy potential, and the EIB wants to help it to become a reference point in the sector by providing investments to promote the transition to a low-carbon economy while simultaneously fostering growth and employment.

“As part of its aim to establish itself as the EU climate bank, the EIB has reaffirmed its commitment to increasing its financing to support Europe in its plans to become the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.”

Once operational, the complex will generate enough power that will be sufficient to meet the electricity needs of 46,500 people, while offsetting 84,000 tonnes of carbon emissions into the atmosphere annually.

Around 40MW of energy generated by the windfarm will be supplied to Nike in Europe under a power purchase agreement (PPA).

During the construction phase, the project is expected to create 200 employment opportunities in the region. By providing finance to the project, EIB has further strengthened its efforts to promote clean energy production in Spain.

The EIB is supporting the project through a Green Loan. Additionally, the financing will support European Commission’s proposed goal of generating 32% of the energy used in the EU from renewable sources by 2030. /