By Geoff Percival
Dublin-listed windfarm operator Greencoat Renewables is still viewing the addition of offshore assets to its growing portfolio as a long-term rather than immediate strategy.
This is despite growing interest in windfarm assets in Irish waters and Greencoat being free to move offshore by next year.
The company has an agreement with the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund not to invest in any offshore projects until 2019.
The fund is Greencoat’s largest independent shareholder with a 28% stake.
It has been busy of late building up its portfolio of onshore Irish windfarms, acquiring three since the start of this year.
That onshore focus is likely to remain for the foreseeable future, although the company has indicated that it will look offshore in time.
“Ireland is well positioned to see a substantial offshore wind market emerge, given the excellent wind resource and the decreasing capital costs for constructing these assets,” said Greencoat director Paul O’Donnell.
The ESB and German renewable energy company Innogy have announced windfarm plans off the east coast in recent weeks and UK and Irish-based company Element Power has just announced the takeover of a major offshore wind site in the north Irish Sea from green energy company Gaelectric which is for sale.
“Although the initial focus for Greencoat is investing in operating onshore wind projects in Ireland, these offshore development projects will provide potential acquisition pipeline opportunities post-2019, once operational, when the fund will be able to invest up to 40% of its cashflow into solar and offshore wind,” said Goodbody analyst Gerry Hennigan.