Mainstream partners with Sinovel for 1GW Irish onshore push

Mainstream Renewable Power (MRP) has signed a turbine supply deal with Sinovel that will see it buy 250MW from the Chinese producer annually from 2014.

Under the agreement, the partners are initially looking to build 1GW of onshore capacity in Ireland, with MRP shouldering the development work and Sinovel providing turbines and technology.

Machines will be supplied from China at first, although Sinovel – the world’s second-largest turbine maker – hints that it may open a production facility in Ireland, if its government appears sufficiently committed to renewables.

Part of the estimated €1.5bn ($2.2bn) needed to build 1GW in Ireland may come from the China Development Bank.

According to chief executive Eddie O’Connor, MRP intends to buy up Irish projects that have already received planning permission but which have not been able to reach financial close.

“This is our second deal with a leading Chinese wind energy company in six months and for us it is just the beginning,” O’Connor says. “China is central to Mainstream’s strategy.”

“We have the global portfolio of projects, they have the world-leading technology which is ready to deploy cost-effectively and at scale,” O’Connor adds.

“It’s a great fit. And a deal like this has the potential to bring substantial manufacturing opportunities to markets like Ireland.”

Dublin-based MRP recently opened an office in Beijing. It says it is “actively forging relationships” with Chinese technology suppliers looking to access its 16GW portfolio of projects across Europe, North America, South Africa and Chile.

In January MRP sold its stake in the 106.5MW Shady Oaks wind farm in Illinois to Goldwind after jointly bidding for the project with the Chinese turbine maker.

MRP has also emerged as one of the world’s most ambitious independent offshore developers, with the 420MW project Neart na Goithe in Scottish waters, the 1GW Horizont in Germany and the UK's 4GW Hornsea, which it won alongside Siemens Project Ventures.

More recently, the Irish developer was one of 11 companies to formally express interest in building wind farms off the coast of New Jersey, alongside Iberdrola, enXco and others.