Australia caught up in a renewables trade rush

The week in clean energy saw deals aplenty, including Mitsui in Australia, ahead of 2013's close while EU carbon softened ahead of December policy news.

As the countdown to year-end and the holiday period begins, the last-minute rush of deal announcements has started. Just November 28 saw several: China Ming Yang Wind Power agreed to build a 200MW wind farm in Romania for Speranta and Succesul. The Asian company will provide engineering, procurement and construction services for the local renewable energy developer. Ming Yang will also supply the 2MW turbines and hopes to leverage this opportunity as a base of expansion.

On the same day, Suzlon Group subsidiary REpower Systems announced it had won an order from Mitsui for 52 turbines for a 107MW wind farm in Australia. This is REpower Systems' first contract with the Japanese company. Suzlon Energy shares gained up to 9.4 per cent on the Bombay Stock Exchange on the morning of the announcement.

In addition, Ireland's Gaelectric Holdings won over €90m ($US123 million*) of pension-backed funding to expand and finance a 42MW wind farm in Londonderry. BlueBay Ireland Corporate Credit, set up by London-based BlueBay Asset Management with investment from the National Pensions Reserve Fund of Ireland, will contribute €30 million ($US41 million) to expand Gaelectric’s business and Proventus Capital Partners gave €6 million ($US8 million).

Long-term institutions like pension funds and insurance companies are showing greater appetite for investing in European renewables projects, according to recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance research. Such investment (not including commitments via worldwide infrastructure funds or capital injected into companies involved in project development) has risen from just over $US1 billion in 2008 to $US2.7 billion in 2012 and $US3 billion-plus in 2013, thanks to project yields of some 6 per cent and a high level of predictability over cash flows.

Also on November 28, Aeon Delight, a building maintenance company, and Recycle One, an environmental research and consulting company, announced it will build two solar power stations in central Japan. Construction will begin this month on the 9.4MW and 7.5MW plants, which are expected to come online in February 2015. Research One has developed two solar plants in the Asian country, with a combined capacity of 54MW.

Other notable deals over the last week came from Suriname where Canadian mining company Iamgold said on November 27 it will build the Latin American country's first solar plant. The 5MW project will cost $US15 million and begin operations in Q3 2014, said the developer. Also that day, the World Bank's International Finance Corporation announced $US221 million of financing for a wind farm in Jordan. The 117MW project will be built by Jordan Wind Project and will benefit from $US69 million from the IFC, with contributions from the European Investment Bank and Denmark's export credit agency. Jordan has been facing an increasingly high energy-import bill after repeated attacks on Egypt's gas pipelines. This appears to be a clear-cut case of renewable power undercutting the alternative, fossil-fuel option, in a developing economy with pressing need for extra energy.

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