Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, known as Taqa, has taken its first steps into the renewable energy sector with the purchase of a stake in a US wind farm.
Taqa, the majority owner of the emirate’s power plants, has bought 50 per cent in the Lakefield wind project in Minnesota, which has a capacity to produce 205.5 megawatts of electricity, from a subsidiary of France’s EDF.
“The Lakefield acquisition is a first step in the evolution of Taqa’s global strategy for alternative energy sources,” said Saif Al Sayari, the head of Energy Solutions, the division responsible for renewables projects.
Taqa has a growing energy portfolio across the world. Last week, the UAE and Turkey signed an agreement that would allow the company to become a joint venture partner in a scheme to build coal-fired power plants in Turkey capable of producing up to 7,000MW.
The company owns power assets in countries ranging from India to the United States, where it already holds an interest in the Red Oak gas-fired power plant in New Jersey.
But its main asset base lies in Abu Dhabi, were it holds majority stakes in all large-scale power plants in the emirate. The Energy Solutions division is charged with growing the company’s renewables portfolio.
“The knowledge and international footprint established with this transaction will enable us to take a leading role in developing other international projects,” said Mr Al Sayari.
To date, Taqa’s sole venture into alternative energies is a project to build a 100MW waste-to-energy plant. But the company is keen to add more clean energy projects, and is currently bidding for wind farm tenders in Morocco.
In addition to its power generation assets, Taqa also produces oil in the United Kingdom’s North Sea, and gas in the US and Canada. Energy Solutions is exploring ways to boost production in the North Sea by injecting carbon emissions into the depleting fields.
It is also looking to turn North American gas into liquid petroleum products.
As gas prices have plummeted because of the shale gas revolution, and oil prices have held up, gas-to-liquids products increase the profitability of its gas.
As part of the deal with EDF, the French company will continue to operate and maintain the Lakefield wind farm.
The project supplies sufficient electricity for 68,000 homes in the midwestern US and Canada. The acquisition is expected to close within three months.