Brookfield buys Bord Gáis wind

Canada’s Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners has agreed to acquire the wind portfolio of Ireland’s Bord Gáis Energy, and said it plans to use it as the base for a push into Europe.

Brookfield said it will buy the Bord Gáis wind assets – including 321MW of operating capacity in Ireland and Northern Ireland – in a deal that gives the portfolio an enterprise value of €700m ($960m).

The purchase is part of a wider agreement that will see state-owned Bord Gáis sold off, with UK utility Centrica taking its retail business in a deal worth €1.1bn in total.

Ireland has been trying to sell Bord Gais for some time as part of its national debt reduction plan, and originally hoped to get up to €1.5bn for its various component parts.

Its first foray into Europe will bring it about 15% of Ireland’s operating wind capacity and “some of the strongest onshore wind resources in Europe” – 90% of it contracted under government tariffs, according to the Canadian group.

Brookfield said: “The combination of strong wind resources in Ireland and a power market that otherwise relies on natural gas-fired generation allows windpower to be an attractive, cost-effective source of long-term electricity supply.

“The portfolio is well positioned for future growth with an additional 125MW currently in construction and an approximate 300MW wind development pipeline.”

And Toronto-listed Brookfield said Ireland is the start rather than the summit of its European ambitions.

It said: "Brookfield Renewable’s objective in Europe is to build a leading renewable power platform with the full range of operating, development and investment capabilities supporting further expansion on a continental basis.

“With a significant share of the world economy, a large investable universe of renewable power assets, and strong support for renewable policy, further acquisitions and developments in Europe will represent a core focus for Brookfield Renewable and will complement the company’s substantial North and South American platforms.”

Brookfield has about 6GW in a hydropower-dominated portfolio that spans the US, Canada and Brazil.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014.