Equinor has joined fellow Norwegians Scatec Solar and Norsk Hydro for plans to build a 480MW PV plant that would be among Brazil’s largest solar facilities.
The partners plan to make a final investment decision next year after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the project at a site in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, with a view to offtake of part of the output by Norsk Hydro, one of the world’s biggest aluminium producers.
Recharge reported in October how the Brazilian renewables sector has remained buoyant thanks to surging appetite among corporations for long-term solar and wind power deals in the unregulated market, shrugging off a dip in general demand and postponement of regulated government auctions.
Equinor and developer Scatec – in which the oil & gas group is a 15% shareholder – are already partners in Brazilian solar with a 162MW plant in operation, and existing owners of the 480MW site.
The investment by Norsk Hydro is an early example of a new willingness to take stakes in projects that the company revealed in October when it set up new renewable energy and battery units.
Olivier Girardot, head of renewable growth in the aluminium group’s Hydro Energy business, said: “Hydro aims to lower the CO2 footprint from our operations by 30% by 2030, and most of the reduction will come from Brazil.
“To reach that target, sufficient access to renewable energy is fundamental. This project demonstrates our resolve to partner with industry leaders to develop a substantial and balanced portfolio of renewable projects that Hydro can source from in the near future.”
The MoU envisages shared development and operation of the project.
Equinor has made Brazil a key plank of its energy transition plans, onshore and at sea.
The Norwegian group earlier this year applied for a permit to build what would be the world’s largest offshore wind farm off the country’s coast.