EDF unveils Bloy’s Grove 50 MW UK solar plans

EDF unveils Bloy’s Grove 50 MW UK solar plans

EDF Renewables has announced plans for an up-to-50 MW solar farm, Bloy’s Grove, between the villages of Swainsthorpe and Mulbarton, just south of Norwich.

A number of ecological and other feasibility surveys have been carried out and the company is now consulting with local people about the proposal ahead of submitting a planning application to South Norfolk District Council in the spring.

Online and postal community engagement is being carried out and members of the public are encouraged to visit EDF R’s Bloy’s Grove website for further information, to register for live online events and to provide feedback ahead of the close of public consultation on 11 January.

If planning permission is granted, a community fund of up to £10,000 will be paid annually, depending on the final size of the scheme, for the 35-year lifetime of the project.

EDF Renewables Director of Solar and Onshore Wind Development Mark Vyvyan-Robinson said: “This is an excellent site for a solar farm, which is suitably sunny and with a nearby grid connection.”

He added that the company has a number of solar projects planned in the UK.

As part of the project EDF R will improve biodiversity on site by, where appropriate, planting more hedgerows and trees, installing beehives, and setting land aside for grasses and wildflowers.

This environmental enhancement will be established in consultation with the council and maintained throughout the life of the solar farm.

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Malaysian utility takes control of 365 MW UK PV portfolio

Malaysian utility takes control of 365 MW UK PV portfolio

Malaysian state power company Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) has acquired Beaufort Investment’s controlling stake in a 365MW UK solar portfolio valued at £500m, taking full control of the projects.

TNB had acquired a 50% interest in the portfolio from TerraForm Power in 2017 through Vortex Solar UK, a wholly-owned subsidiary of TNB 50:50 joint venture Vortex Solar Investment with Beaufort Investments.

Vortex Energy, a global renewable energy platform managed by Beaufort Investments, a subsidiary of EFG Hermes, held the managing and controlling stake in Vortex Solar.

The portfolio has an average asset age of six years, power purchase agreements with European energy companies and utilities, an “attractive ROC regime” and a long-term debt package from lenders including Santander, RBS and ING, said Beaufort.

The portfolio achieved earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation £39m in 2019 with an 84% EBITDA margin, exceeding its budget.

Vortex Energy said the portfolio continues to meet its targets in 2020, despite the global challenges.

EFG Hermes private equity and asset management head Karim Moussa said: “We continue to demonstrate our ability to pursue the full cycle of raising capital, investing strategically and exiting major renewable energy portfolios.

“Since launching Vortex in 2015, we have combined net 822 MW of premium assets while investing more than €1.3 bn in the sector in developed markets.

“We have been consistently delivering attractive returns to our shareholders and partners by aggregating and enhancing assets and then selling portfolios to strategic long-term owners of renewable energy assets.

“This is the second major exit following the disposal of our 49% stake in a 1 GW wind portfolio to funds managed by JP Morgan last year.”

The Beaufort team now plans to establish Vortex 4, a renewable energy platform that will target global generation, storage, distribution and technology businesses.

Moussa added: “We are excited about future global opportunities in renewables and the wider clean energy space, we shall aim to commence our fundraising efforts by the end of 2020, with anchor investors already showing increased interest in our next endeavour Vortex IV.”

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Greencoat swoops on 156 MW UK solar portfolio

Greencoat swoops on 156 MW UK solar portfolio

Greencoat Capital has agreed the acquisition of a 156 MW photovoltaic portfolio from BlackRock Real Assets and Solar 2 fund is investing in the portfolio on behalf of several large UK pension funds.

The acquisition brings solar generating capacity of funds managed by Greencoat to almost 880 MW.

The solar assets are held in BlackRock’s Global Renewable Power 2 Fund, which has provided investors with a “combination of stable income and attractive capital growth at exit” said BlackRock.

The portfolio is largely Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROC) accredited with an average of approximately 16 years of support remaining.

One of the assets, the 14.4 MW Charity Farm, is backed through Contract for Difference (CfD).

BlackRock’s Global Renewable Power team acquired a 90% stake in the portfolio in 2017 through its partnership with Lightsource BP, which maintained a 10% stake in the portfolio.

Greencoat has acquired 100% ownership from both vendors.

Lightsource BP will continue to provide ongoing asset management and operational services.

Greencoat Capital’s Karin Kaiser said: “This is a brilliant portfolio of proven operational assets that will provide our clients predictable cashflows with inflation protection over the long term, whilst contributing to the decarbonisation of the UK’s electricity sector.

“The acquisition takes installed solar capacity to over 880 MW, across the Funds we manage, generating enough power across the year to power all the homes in a city the size of Manchester.

“We continue to see a strong opportunity for solar aggregation in the UK, and an active near-term pipeline.”

BlackRock Renewable Power global chief investment officer Rory O’Connor added: “The structural transition to a lower carbon future is providing attractive investment opportunities in renewable power globally.

“There is a significant re-allocation of capital underway that underscores the resilience of the sector, even while public markets face uncertainty as the world addresses the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This asset realisation comes as we achieve the second close of our Global Renewable Power Fund 3 at $1.5bn, reflecting the expertise and depth of the BlackRock Renewable Power platform and strong ongoing demand from our clients looking for renewable power and climate infrastructure investment opportunities that can deliver attractive and sustainable returns.”

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Gridserve partners with Hitachi for EV infrastructure

Gridserve partners with Hitachi for EV infrastructure

Gridserve has announced a partnership Japanese manufacturer Hitachi to ‘revolutionise’ the UK’s approach to solar energy and electric vehicles (EV) infrastructure.

The partnership will see Gridserve develop hybrid solar farms in the UK in conjunction with a new network of solar-powered EV forecourts.

Hitachi Capital UK’s loan facility to Gridserve will facilitate projects including hybrid solar farms in Gloucestershire and Lincolnshire, and the soon-to-open electric forecourt close to Braintree, Essex, with space for 24 vehicles to charge simultaneously in 20-30 minutes at a rate of up to 350 kW from its superchargers.

100 more electric forecourts will be delivered over the next five years.

Similar to motorway service stations, there will be facilities including a coffee shop and supermarket on the site, and there will be an EV ‘education centre’, which will offer insight and information about the technology.

Gridserve will generate zero-carbon solar energy to supply the electric forecourt network, in combination with large battery storage systems to deal with the intermittent nature of solar power and meet the growing demand for sustainable energy.

Robert Gordon, CEO of Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC, said: ‘We’re delighted to form a pioneering partnership with an innovative and market leading sustainable energy business, which will revolutionise the UK’s motoring landscape and accelerate the transition to vehicle electrification.

‘The response to the current pandemic has highlighted the impact of carbon emissions on the environment. We now have a real opportunity, through flagship programmes like this, to create the infrastructure needed to fast-track electric vehicle adoption across the UK and meet the government’s ambition to be carbon neutral by 2050. Creating a greener, cleaner society.’

Toddington Harper, CEO of Gridserve Sustainable Energy said: ‘Our strategic partnership with Hitachi Capital marks a major milestone in Gridserve’s journey. As well as providing significant financial backing to accelerate our ability to deliver sustainable energy and meet net-zero carbon emission targets in the earliest possible timeframes, Hitachi Capital has an unrivalled wealth of experience, knowledge, resources, and expertise to support our collective success.’

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Worldwide Concentrated Solar Power Industry to 2027

Worldwide Concentrated Solar Power Industry to 2027

The Global Concentrated Solar Power market accounted for $5.57 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $14.84 billion by 2027 growing at a CAGR of 11.5% during the forecast period.

Some of the key factors influencing market growth include growing environmental concerns over carbon emissions and efforts to reduce air pollution, increase in government support for the adoption of renewable technologies, rise in energy demand & capability to supply power without CO2 emission. However, the higher cost of generation compared to other renewable technologies is restricting market growth.

Concentrated solar power energy is the generation of electricity via mirrors to concentrate the sunrays to the temperature varying between 400 and 1,000 C. This energy is then usually employed in various applications such as heating fluid, mainly water or oil, which in turn produces steam or hot air. The steam produced is used to drive turbines connected to a generator to generate electricity. There are different types of mirror shapes and sun-tracking methods to provide useful energy, but all of them work under the same principle of driving a heat engine to generate electricity that can then be fed into the grid. Thus, concentrated solar power energy is a carbon-free source of electricity and is best suited to regions with strong radiation such as Southern Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East, South Africa, parts of India, China, Southern U.S., and Australia.

Amongst technology, the parabolic trough segment led the overall concentrating solar power market during the forecast period. A parabolic trough is one of the oldest technologies used to generate electricity from concentrated solar power. All parabolic trough plants used presently are “hybrids,” and they utilize fossil fuel to supplement the solar output during low solar radiation periods. These systems are applicable in all types of end-user industries such as utilities, Enhanced oil recovery, and other end-users such as mining and desalination among others. Parabolic trough technology is the most commercialized and mature technology in the CSP technology arena.

By Geography, The Asia-Pacific concentrated solar power market offers lucrative opportunities for key manufacturers, owing to rapid installation capacity of solar energy to increase renewable generation. Besides, China is actively boosting the growth of the market to cope up with its severe pollution problems and develop its domestic manufacturing industry. Furthermore, the availability of low labour has led to an increase in energy production through concentrated solar power, which fuels the growth of the market in the region.

Some of the key players in global concentrated solar power market are Shams Power, ACWA Power, Frenell GmbH, Archimede Solar Energy, Abengoa Solar, S.A., Baysolar CSP, Esolar, Inc., TSK Flagsol Engineering GmbH, Torresol Energy, Brightsource Energy, Inc., Cobra Energia, General Electric, Siemens AG, Soltigua, GlassPoint Solar, Solarreserve, LLC, Nexans, Aalborg CSP A/S., Chiyoda Corporation, and Novatec Solar.

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