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NRG closes on 1.5GW SunEdison pipeline acquisition

NRG Energy, the largest US independent power producer, has closed on its 1.5GW(ac) acquisition of mostly development-stage utility-scale solar and wind projects from bankrupt SunEdison. 

The $183m deal, approved by a bankruptcy court judge in September, includes 265MW of operating capacity, 154MW in backlog for 2017-18, and a 1.1GW pipeline to brought online in the 2018-20 timeframe.

Among the assets are a portfolio of fully-built solar projects in Utah and the partially built 154MW(ac) Buckthorn solar array in Texas.

The deal includes a $124m initial payment, another $15m when a handful of construction-ready projects in Hawaii secure PPAs, and $44m in future payments when various development and construction milestones are reached.

NRG Energy CEO: Renewables business 'only getting stronger'

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Late last year NRG fired chief executive David Crane, who had engineered the company's aggressive push into utility-scale and distributed renewables – and its launch of the first US yieldco, NRG Yield.

While NRG no longer retains ownership of the rooftop solar contracts it establishes with its retail electricity customers, it continues to build and own a broad range of wind and solar projects, with current CEO Mauricio Gutierrez recently saying the renewables business is "only getting stronger".

NRG says the deal with SunEdison underscores its “ongoing leadership in and commitment to renewable energy”, boosting its renewables portfolio to 4.7GW – or more than 10% of in-house generating capacity.

The deal moves NRG’s renewables arm into two new state markets, Hawaii and Utah, and opens the prospect of substantial future drop downs for NRG Yield.

Under a previously closed deal with SunEdison, NRG also bought 29MW(ac) of development-stage distributed generation and community solar projects.

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