NTR invests €63m in US solar energy firm

NTR, the former West Link operator, has invested €63 million in a strategic solar energy project in the US.

For that the group has secured a controlling interest in Stirling Energy Systems, (SES), a Phoenix, Arizona-based developer capable of delivering utility-scale solar powered electricity generation plants.

This is the first move by the renewable energy group into this segment of the renewable energy market.

SES is developing two of the world’s largest solar generating projects in the Imperial Valley and Mojave Desert.

NTR’s involvement gives the US company the financial and commercial expertise to deliver these projects which will initially produce 800 megawatts (MW) of power building to 1,750 MW when the plants are fully operational.

“In SES, we have a business with high growth potential and a leading cost position in the fast growing CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) sector,” said Jim Barry, chief executive of NTR.

The move is in line with the Irish group’s strategy to invest in renewable energy sectors with strong growth potential, he said.

Michael Walsh, financial director of NTR, said the US offers major opportunities in solar and biofuels.

Through Bioverda, the group is involved in a joint venture with Richard Branson’s Virgin Group which will bring two ethanol plants on stream by the end of September.

The two plants will provide 200 million gallons of fuel at a cost of €260m.

The move into solar is also a highly significant step in the group’s evolving strategy in the renewable energy sector, Mr Walsh said.

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