EUROPE ROUND-UP: Lightsource BP continues Spanish charge, Iberdrola’s smart grid R&D push

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A Lightsource BP solar project currently under construction in the Spanish province of Zaragoza. Image: Lightsource BP.

Lightsource BP acquires 100MW of Spanish solar projects

23 September 2020: Lightsource BP has strengthened a co-development partnership with renewables firm Forestalia that will see an additional 100MW solar portfolio built in Spain.

The deal sees Lightsource acquire two utility-scale solar sites located in the province of Teruel. The firm will work alongside Forestalia to progress the projects until they reach financial close and begin construction.

The partnership between the two companies has already seen the development of a 250MW solar portfolio in the province of Zaragoza, which was announced last year and marked Lightsource BP’s entry into the Spanish market. That cluster is now in final stages of construction and due to begin operations towards the end of 2020, with energy sold to BP’s European Gas and Power business through a seven-year power purchase agreement.

“Working with local partners is an essential business model for Lightsource BP. It enables us to widen our reach quickly but also build upon the really great work already being done at a local level,” said Kareen Boutonnat, Lightsource BP CEO for Europe and international.

Forestalia Renovables unveiled plans last year to invest €2.3 billion and deploy a 3GW clean energy pipeline across Teruel. The company is looking to build 34 PV parks (1.64GW) and 32 wind installations in the area.


Iberdrola announces smart grid innovation centre

22 September 2020: Iberdrola has revealed plans for a new Spanish facility that will support projects in smart grid technologies and help “lead the energy transition”.

Called the Global Smartgrid Innovation Hub, the initiative will see more than 200 professionals collaborate on research projects related to the new challenges of electricity networks. These will include the resilience and flexibility of the network to manage new consumption models such as self-generation and electric mobility.

Iberdrola has identified more than 120 innovation projects worth €110 million (US$129 million) for development. These, the company said, will enable the deployment of innovative solutions across its electricity network activities in countries such as the US, the UK, Spain and Brazil.

Located in Bilbao and due for completion in 2021, the hub will act as a platform to combine Iberdrola’s technological capabilities with those of suppliers, collaborators and start-ups.

Over the past decade, the Spanish utility’s annual investment in research and development activities related to renewables, electricity networks, storage and consumer solutions has increased by 115%, reaching a record €280 million in 2019.


UK solar asset owner targets 350MW subsidy-free portfolio

22 September 2020: UK solar asset owner Bluefield Solar Income Fund (BSIF) is pursuing a 350MWp unsubsidised portfolio in the country having determined subsidy-free solar to be economical in the country.

The company said it had been preparing for the advent of grid-parity solar in the UK for the past 18 months, and had amassed a proprietary development pipeline in excess of 350MW via agreements with a select number of developers and contract partners.

BSIF noted that while a “severe depression” of power prices triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak had placed a hiatus on “meaningful levels of construction”, the conditions for unsubsidised solar are “scalable” in the coming years.

Meanwhile the company has also managed to arrange planning permission extensions for 240MWp of its UK-based portfolio, ensuring projects can remain operational beyond their previous 25-year expectancy.

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