Greencoat Renewables nears €76m wind farm deal

File photo.

State-backed wind farm operator Greencoat Renewables is closing in on a €76m project acquisition and said it has more deals in the pipeline.

The company, which is part-owned by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, said it is involved in various acquisition negotiations which, if successful, would add around 250 megawatts to its energy capacity.

Part of this is a deal to buy an unnamed wind farm valued at €76m, with that deal due to close at the end of this month.

All of the targeted acquisitions relate to already built operational onshore Irish wind farms. The company said it views the secondary wind market in Ireland as still being "very active".

Greencoat currently has a portfolio of wind farms with a combined capacity of 384 megawatts.

It paid more than €280m, last autumn, for the bulk of State-backed forestry company Coillte's wind farm assets.

A share placing with institutional investors will aim to raise funds to allow the company pay down its existing credit facility and free up capital for acquisitions.

Greencoat's investment strategy restricts it from buying non-onshore Irish assets until July of this year. The company is, however, interested in buying assets in continental Europe after that date; with Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Finland countries on its radar.

Greencoat bought 10 wind farms last year. Financial results for 2018, its first full year as a publicly listed company, show Greencoat generated a profit of nearly €43.6m; up from a loss of €2.6m for the previous year.

Meanwhile, new findings from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) show that more than 10% of the country's total energy came from renewable sources last year.

Despite this, Ireland will still not meet its 2020 renewable energy targets. It ranks 26 out of the 28 EU member states in terms of progress towards its 2020 targets.

"We need to accelerate the pace of change. Collectively and individually, we need to take greater advantage of the renewable resources available to us here in Ireland," said SEAI chief executive Jim Gannon.

"While reducing the carbon intensity of electricity is critical to meeting Ireland's climate change objectives, it is simply not enough on its own. We need to make progress in all areas of energy use and rapidly increase the adoption of renewables across heating and transport if we are serious about reducing Ireland's carbon emissions," he said.

Ireland has committed to a target of 16% of total energy from renewable sources by 2020.

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