Masdar, a clean energy company based in Abu Dabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) is expanding its presence in the United States’ renewables market after closing the acquisition of a 50% stake in a combined solar and battery storage project from EDF Renewables North America. The acquisition was a long time in process, as first close was announced more than two years ago.
The Big Beau project, located in Kern County, California, achieved commercial operation in 2021. The facility comprises a 128 MWac solar plant and a 40 MW/160 MWh battery energy storage system. At full capacity the plant generates enough electricity to meet the consumption needs of up to 64,000 average California homes, or the equivalent to avoiding the greenhouse gas emissions from 67,000 passenger vehicles driven over the course of one year.
EDF Renewables signed two 20-year power purchase agreements (PPA) with Silicon Valley Clean Energy purchasing 55% of the output, and Monterey Bay Community Power purchasing 45%.
Big Beau and the other projects that we are operating with EDF Renewables are already making an active contribution to U.S. clean energy targets, highlighting the strength of the UAE-U.S. relationship that the recent PACE announcement seeks to build on,” “If we are to keep the objective of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees alive, we need to see countries coming together in concerted action – one of the key areas of focus for the upcoming COP28 in the UAE. Partnerships between companies like Masdar and EDF Renewables are also vital in ensuring we hold back emissions, not progress, said HE Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE minister of industry and advanced technology, COP28 president-designate and chairman of Masdar.
In November 2022, the Partnership for Accelerating Clean Energy (PACE) was announced. In partnership, UAE and the U.S. would allocate $20 billion to fund 15 GW of clean energy projects in the United States before 2035, led by Masdar and a consortium of U.S. private investors. The intention is to focus on the scalable development of low-emission energy sources, with the goal of deploying 100 GW of clean energy globally by 2035. In a statement, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the two countries “will also invest in the management of harmful emissions like carbon and methane, the development of advanced nuclear technology, and the decarbonization of the industrial and transportation sectors”.
Masdar and EDF Renewables North America agreed in 2020 to jointly partner on the 1.6 GW portfolio, which includes three utility-scale wind projects in Nebraska and Texas totalling 815 MW, and five solar projects in California totalling 689 MW, two of which include battery energy storage systems representing 75 MW. All of the projects are operational, and combined they are displacing more than 3 million tons of emissions per year.
Masdar is active in more than 40 countries and invested in projects with a combined capacity of more than 20 GW, and is targeting a combined portfolio capacity of at least 100 GW by 2030, with expectations of doubling that in coming years. The company recently announced a new shareholding structure and additional focus on green hydrogen, and has set a goal of producing 1 million tons of green hydrogen annually by 2030.
EDF Renewables’ North American portfolio consists of 16 GW of developed projects and 13 GW under service contracts. EDF Renewables North America is a subsidiary of EDF Renewables, the renewable energy affiliate of the EDF Group.