INNOVATION • Article • June 12th 2023
Renewables, all about prosumers: the energy players of the futureRead more
The continuously evolving scenario of energy, with its various complexities, requires technologies, investment, perseverance and commitment. This means that there is a great opportunity to accelerate the transition through the deployment of solar and wind power.
June 12th 2023
At Plenitude, we have set ourselves ambitious goals: to date, we supply energy to 10 million European customers in the retail market with the goal of reaching more than 11 million customers by 2026 and with a growing contribution from the sale and management of energy services and products–from heat pumps to distributed solar photovoltaics–which already account for 20% of the EBITDA of Plenitude's retail business. On the renewable front, this year, we reached 2.3 GW of installed capacity, in line with our plan to reach over 7 GW by 2026 and over 15 GW by 2030. As for electric mobility, we now have over 15,000 charging points on the ground and our target is to install more than 30,000 by 2026. Our integrated portfolio of assets–from renewable energy generation facilities to electric vehicle charging infrastructure and retail customers–means we are well positioned to develop new flexibility services that optimize the coordinated management of energy production and consumption so as to make the best use of renewable energy when it is available and costs less, and provide efficiency opportunities for our customers.
With the Italian renewable energy joint venture GreenIT between Plenitude, CDP Equity (CDP Group) and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP – through its Flagship Funds), in March 2023 we reached an agreement to develop three floating offshore wind farms in Lazio and Sardinia. The agreement foresees the development of a wind farm in Lazio, off the coast of Civitavecchia, with a total capacity of up to 540 MW and two other installations located off the coast of Olbia, Sardinia, with a capacity of about 500 MW and 1,000 MW. The three projects are expected to generate about 5 TWh/year and will be operational between 2028 and 2031, following completion of the authorization procedure and subsequent construction. The wind farms will be located about 30 km from the coast and have a total capacity of nearly 2 GW. The partnership's entire Italian offshore wind portfolio will reach a capacity of nearly 3 GW with an annual output of about 7 TWh of renewable energy, capable of meeting the electricity needs of nearly 2.5 million households, based on the calculated estimated average annual electricity consumption of an Italian residential customer of 2,000 KWh per year, according to data published by the Italian Energy Regulatory Authority (ARERA) in its 2021 Annual Report.
With Simply Blue Group, an Irish developer of blue economy projects, we signed a joint agreement last January 2023 to develop a pipeline of new floating offshore wind projects in Italy. The Messapia project, located about 30 km off the coast of Otranto, will have a total capacity of 1.3 GW and will be able to provide annually about 3.8 TWh. The Krimisa project, located about 45 km off the coast of Crotone, will have a total capacity of 1.1 GW and will be able to provide up to 3.5 TWh annually. Overall, it is estimated that the two projects will be able to cover the energy needs of more than 2.5 million households.
2022 was another prolific year for Plenitude. In October, our 104.5-MW El Monte wind farm was inaugurated in Castilla-La Mancha, Spain. This wind farm is operational, generating power by means of 19 GE Cypress 158 (5.5 MW) wind turbines, among the largest installed in Spain. The plant will produce about 300 GWh per year, equivalent to the consumption of 100,000 households (assuming an average consumption of 3,000 KWh/year per household).
In December 2022, we also acquired 100% of PLT, an Italian group integrated in the generation of electricity from renewable sources and the supply of energy to retail customers, thus strengthening our presence in Italy and Spain by means of a vertically integrated platform that includes more than 400 MW of assets in Italy–80% already operational and 20% under construction with startup expected by 2024–and another 1.2 GW of projects under development in Italy and Spain, 60% of which are at an advanced stage of maturity.
Finally, again in 2022, we entered into a partnership with Infrastrutture S.p.A. for the development of solar and wind projects in Italy and Spain through the acquisition of 65% of Hergo Renewables S.P.A., a company that holds a portfolio of projects in the two countries with a total capacity of around 1.5 GW. Infrastrutture S.p.A. will retain the remaining 35%. Work on the first project, a photovoltaic plant at Montalto di Castro, Viterbo, with a capacity of 37 MW, is underway and is scheduled to enter into service in the second half of 2023.
In March 2023, with Vårgrønn–a joint venture between Plenitude and HitecVision–and Flotation Energy, Crown Estate Scotland selected our two projects to develop floating offshore wind farms capable of generating up to 1.9 GW: Green Volt and Cenos. The two wind farms will be operational in the North Sea. The purpose is to provide electricity from renewable sources to surrounding mining platforms. The Green Volt farm could be operational by 2027 and Cenos by 2028. In addition, up to 7TW will be supplied from these two offshore facilities to the UK power grid. Together, Green Volt and Cenos are estimated to reduce emissions by 3 million tons of CO2 per year1.
Together with HitecVision, in June 2022, we announced an agreement to expand Vårgrønn's activity. The goal is to consolidate Vårgrønn's position among the most important players in the offshore wind industry, focusing on the major northern European markets. As part of the deal, Vårgrønn will acquire Plenitude's 20% stake in the Dogger Bank wind farm (UK) and other early-stage Plenitude ventures in Vårgrønn's key markets. In addition, HitecVision will increase its stake in Vårgrønn from 30.4% to 35% through the deal, while Plenitude will retain the remaining 65%. Once production startup is completed in 2026, Dogger Bank will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world. The three phases of the project (A, B and C) envision a total installed capacity of 3.6 GW, capable of generating enough renewable energy to power 6 million homes. Through this operation, Vårgrønn will invest in what is globally the most mature area of the offshore wind sector, adding 720MW net capacity to its portfolio.
As for Norway, the recent launch of Brigg Vind opens a new chapter for renewable energy in northern Europe. The new brand brings together the leading renewable energy producers in Norway, who had already formed a consortium in 2021: Vårgrønn, a joint venture involving Plenitude, HitecVision, Norwegian renewable energy producer Å Energi and British offshore wind specialist Corio Generation. Brigg Vind's first goal is to participate in the first offshore wind tenders expected to open by the first half of 2023 in Norway.
In January 2022, we acquired the Greek company Solar Konzept Greece (or SKGR) from Solar Konzept International, which is majority-owned by Aquila Capital, a sustainable investment and asset development company based in Hamburg, Germany. SKGR owns a platform for the development of photovoltaic plants in Greece, and its plant portfolio includes a pipeline of projects of about 800 MW, which will form the basis for further development of our renewable portfolio in the country.