Enel Green Power has agreed to acquire Tradewind Energy, its long-time development partner in the U.S. wind market. The deal is a further sign of the Italian utility group’s commitment to U.S. renewable energy in spite of fading federal subsidies.
The acquisition will give Enel, already among the world’s largest renewables operators, the ability to develop wind, solar and storage projects in-house through its Massachusetts-based Enel Green Power North America unit.
Immediately following the Tradewind deal, EGP-NA turned around and agreed to sell Tradewind’s Savion unit, home to its 6-gigawatt pipeline of solar and storage projects, to the Macquarie Group, according to a press release.
EGP-NA will retain Tradewind's 7-gigawatt pipeline of onshore wind projects, and expects to “integrate” Tradewind’s development expertise in solar and storage.
Financial terms of the two deals were not revealed.
Macquarie's acquisition of Savion is expected to close by mid-year, the financial group said. Tradewind chief executive Rob Freeman will stay on with Savion and will no longer be part of Tradewind.
Kansas-based Tradewind is among the leading developers of U.S. wind projects, holding a dominant position in some of the major state markets in the country's central wind-energy corridor, though it has pivoted to utility-scale solar over the past few years with an eye to playing a larger role in that market in the 2020s.
EGP-NA’s strategic relationship with Tradewind, struck more than a decade ago, has helped the Italian company transform into one of the largest owners of utility-scale renewables in the U.S. The two companies together have been at the vanguard of the trend of major corporations signing up to buy large volumes of renewable power.
EGP-NA is looking to add around 1 gigawatt of renewables capacity each year in the U.S. during the 2019-21 period, most of it likely to be wind.
Earlier this month EGP-NA finalized the acquisition of seven renewables plants totaling 650 megawatts from GE Energy Financial Services, including the 400-megawatt Cimarron Bend wind farm in Kansas.
The acquisition of Tradewind suggests that more of EGP-NA's future capacity will come from in-house development, rather than buying advanced projects from other developers, as it has recently done in states like Texas.
The acquisition will allow EGP-NA to move with “greater speed and efficiency” in the “competitive U.S. market,” said Georgios Papadimitriou, who took the helm at the company last year.
In addition to its EGP-NA unit, Enel is also active in the U.S. through the recently launched Enel X, its e-solutions division that has roped together various acquisitions, including Demand Energy, EnerNOC and eMotorWerks.