US ROUND-UP: EDF signs second PPA for Texas project, Exelon separates utility & competitive energy business

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EDF’s Space City Solar project in Texas, US. Image: EDF

Exelon separates utility & competitive energy business

24 February, 2021: Chicago-based energy company Exelon’s board of directors have agreed to separate its power generation business from its utility interests, creating two publicly-listed companies.

The split, which will be structured as a tax-free spinoff, will provide each new company with the financial independence to focus on their  “specific  customer needs”, Exelon said in a statement last week.

As part of the deal Exelon Utilities, known as RemainCo, will become the parent company for its six electricity and natural gas utilities Atlantic City Electric, BGE, ComEd, Delmarva Power, PECO and Pepco. Exelon Generation, meanwhile, will launch SpinCo, a business that Exelon claims is the largest supplier of clean energy across the US. SpinCo has a 31GW capacity portfolio of nuclear, wind, solar, natural gas and hydro assets, and will produce roughly 12% of the US’ carbon-free energy, it said. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022.

Exelon Corporation will continue to be led by current chief executive Chris Crane and the existing management team until SpinCo becomes a publicly listed company in its own right, and further details about each company’s teams will be published later this year. The corporation’s existing shareholders will receive shares in the new entity, although the distribution ratio has yet to be finalised.

Crane said the separation will help the two businesses “benefit from the strategic flexibility to focus on their unique customer, market and community priorities.”

EDF signs PPA on Texas Space City Solar Project

1 March, 2021: Energy group EDF has signed a virtual power purchase agreement (PPA) for the second tranche of its Texas solar project with an affiliate of listed energy partnership group Enterprise Products partners.

The Space City Solar plant will be located in Wharton County, Texas, and will use bifacial solar PV modules. The project is also expected to create US$30 million in tax revenue for Wharton County entities, and create 300 jobs in the area during construction.

EDF Renewables is set to break ground on the Space City Solar plant this summer, and bring it online next year. It will have a total capacity of 345MWac/455MWdc on completion. Enterprise’s PPA will see the company offtake 100 MWac / 132 MWdc of solar energy from the project.

The renewables arm of energy group EDF has already signed a PPA to supply chemicals company BASF with 55MWac/73MWdc of energy from the solar plant in Texas.

Matt McCluskey, EDF Renewables’ vice president of south region development, said the new PPA demonstrates a “continued commitment to helping corporate customers” meet their sustainability targets. A.J. Teague, co-chief executive of Enterprise’s general partner, said the company will aim to operate with 25% renewable power by 2025.

SEEIT completes C&I portfolio acquisition

1 March, 2021: UK investor SDCL’s Energy Efficiency Income Trust (SEEIT) has now acquired hundreds of commercial and industrial (C&I) solar and storage projects in the US from developer Onyx Renewable Partners, and established a joint venture with the company.

More than three months after announcing the purchase agreement, SEEIT has acquired a 50% interest in Onyx’s development pipeline in a deal worth US$150 million. So far, it includes four solar and storage portfolios totalling over 175 MW of operational, under construction and development stage assets. The developer expects its project pipeline to surpass 500MW by 2025. Those that are already online supply energy to municipalities, universities, schools, hospitals, military housing providers, utilities and corporates through power purchase agreements (PPAs).

SEEIT has made an upfront initial consideration of US$120 million, and expects to deploy the remaining US$30 million over the next few months as construction progresses on some projects.

The projects themselves include more than 200 on-site solar-plus-storage installations such as rooftop systems, carport and private wire ground-mounted solar PV projects ranging from 5MW to 15MW.

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