Enel moves on a 13 gigawatt project pipeline & flips 6 GW of solar+storage


The wall of money is often coming in sums greater than hundreds of millions of dollars at a time: a $200 million fund seeking C&I and small-scale utility solar projects, or wind+solar developers selling pipelines for more than $100 million.

And while we don’t know the purchase price officially, Italian energy giant Enel has announced that it bought Tradewind Energy and its project pipeline of 7 GW of wind, and 6 GW solar+storage projects in the United States, and 13 GW of projects almost always costs more than a cool hundred million.

Immediately following the transaction to purchase the portfolio, Enel flipped the solar+storage portfolio to Australia’s Macquarie. Tradewind principals Rob Freeman and Geoff Coventry will stay on to manage the portfolio, and Enel says that it earned a positive return on the flip.

Tradewind does note a 750 MW energy storage portfolio on its website, however, much of the site – including links to projects – has been updated to reflect Enel’s ownership of the company, so its yet unknown what the size of the storage portfolio is or if these 750 MW moved with the solar portfolio. No energy storage was noted with the wind portfolio.

Enel and Tradewind Energy have worked together since 2006, with Enel constructing about 3.9 GW of capacity developed by Tradewind. It was suggested that the Tradewind team members who would stay on at Enel will  help it to develop more projects in house.

Apparently, those in the know anticipated this move months ago:

Macquarie is busy these days; a few days ago the financial services company announced that it has closed on debt financing for 97 MWh of batteries as the third phase of a 63 MW/340 megawatt-hour (MWh) battery project for Southern California Edison. It wasn’t noted whether this was for the 97 MWh, or the whole of the portfolio, but the battery systems are being installed across 89 sites, hosted by 28 customers throughout the West Los Angeles Basin region. Macquarie acquired the original portfolio from Advanced Microgrid Solutions in August 2016 and the two companies have been jointly developing and constructing the portfolio.

The Macquarie team that took on the solar+storage portfolio – Green Investment Group (GIG) – has no solar power projects in its listed investments, however, it does offer a 10-15 year energy storage PPA whose main benefit is to “shave” peak demand. GIG is definitely participating in solar portfolios elsewhere, as the group announced a partnership with Univergy International SL to develop over 1 GW of solar power over the next five years – starting with a 550 MW project in Spain, 100 MW in France, and a 50 MW floating plant in the Netherlands.

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