Renewable M&A review: Total, Iberdrola acquire key assets
September was a big month for transactions in the renewable space, with 8.6 gigawatts (GW) of renewable assets changing hands globally. This is more than double the same number last year and maintains the strong M&A momentum seen in the first half of the year into 2H2020. Although previous month did not see a great number of corporate M&A deals, a mega acquisition still pushed the total corporate capacity transacted to an impressive 3.5 GW. Many gigawatt-scale joint ventures were also announced previous month, resulting in more than 7 GW to be developed by 2024-2025.
Iberdrola continued its acquisition spree, buying Macquarie Capital’s Acacia Renewables. The acquired company specializes in wind development in the Japanese market and comes with a project development pipeline of 3.3 GW, including two offshore wind projects currently under environmental impact assessment. This marks Iberdrola’s first entry into the Japanese renewable market. Iberdrola also completed the acquisition of Infigen in early September, beating rival bidder Philippines’ Ayala Corp to clinch the remaining 20% stake in Infigen.
UK accelerates down green path with surge in offshore wind energy
The UK has high ambitions for deployment of renewable energy, aiming to double its renewables capacity by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Offshore wind projects will play a major role in this transition – according to the UK Oil & Gas Authority (OGA), integration of clean energy technologies with offshore wind could contribute 30% of the decarbonization requirements needed for the UK to meet its target of becoming carbon neutral by the middle of the century.
Renewable installed capacity in the UK is forecast to total 48.5 GW this year, with wind accounting for about half of that tally – 13.5 GW from onshore turbines and 10 GW from offshore turbines. Solar photovoltaic (PV) projects are next on the list with 8.8 GW, while the remaining capacity of 16.2 GW (which is not included in Figure 1 below) stems primarily from storage and biomass projects.
Solar & wind commissioning surges in China before subsidies run out
For the past decade, China has nurtured the development of its renewable industry through a steady diet of subsidies, hastening the pace of energy transition in the country through various feed in tariff (FIT) policies for wind and solar. But the help will soon run out; the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) recently announced the country will begin slowly reducing subsidy assistance beginning in January 2021.
According to NDRC, projects that have already submitted applications will be prioritized for fast tracked approval based on their ability to achieve grid party price without the aid of subsidies. Other projects, which will require subsidies to be economical, must be scheduled to begin construction before the end of 2020, and must be able to meet grid parity with the offered subsidies upon completion. The commission underscored that onshore wind in China is already well on its way to being independently economical, with multiple projects nearing in the later stages of development which have not received any subsidy assistance,
Nevertheless, in order to benefit from existing subsidies before they run out, Chinese wind and solar developers have rushed to complete installation by the end of 2020, creating an unprecedented construction boom.