TuNur project will provide clean energy to more than 2.5 million homes, creating double the energy of UK’s nuclear energy output
Renewable energy investment company, Low Carbon and utility scale solar developer Nur Energie, are partnering in the development of their TuNur project. TuNur is a flagship 2GW solar export project in the Tunisian Sahara which will be connected to the European electricity grid via a dedicated cable.
The project will produce almost twice as much energy as any of the UK’s current nuclear power plants and can even produce power when the sun is down.
The project is currently undergoing permitting in Tunisia and Europe, and is set to reach financial close and start construction in 2016. When the project comes online in by late 2018 it will provide clean and reliable power to more than 2.5 million UK homes.
Today’s announcement of the commitment from Low Carbon and Nur to take the TuNur project forward to the next stage follows the significant milestones achieved over the course of the project’s development which have provided confidence in its success. The majority of the project’s feasibility and preliminary licencing has now been completed including an offer of a 2GW grid connection solution (“STMG”) from Terna, the Italian grid operator, for an interconnection point in Italy. The project is now entering into the next stage of permitting and development, putting it on track to start construction by the end of 2016.
Energy security is currently a key concern for European countries, following disruptions to energy supplies due to the unsettled situation in the Ukraine and the Middle-East. European authorities have called for member states to take active steps to reduce their dependency on fossil fuels, potentially by investing in renewable technologies. Furthermore, as global demand for renewable energy rises, it is becoming increasingly important that renewable energy projects are built to a scale that has a significant impact on the decarbonisation of electricity grids.
Africa presents many new exciting investment opportunities for the renewable energy industry, with its abundance of solar and wind resources. According to the European Commission’s Institute for Energy, 0.3 % of the sunlight that shines on the Sahara and Middle Eastern deserts could supply all of Europe’s energy needs. Investing in such regions is crucial for diversifying our energy supplies for the future.
Roy Bedlow, chief executive officer at Low Carbon said: “With the right level of investment, large scale renewable projects such as TuNur can be very competitive in the energy market and demonstrates that renewables make business sense. By harnessing the power of the sun, we can challenge other means of energy generation such as nuclear power or burning fossil fuels, which have multiple, long-term negative effects. Large scale solar projects, in Europe and Africa are a vital part of diversifying and securing Europe’s energy supply, while creating a low carbon economy.”
Kevin Sara, chief executive officer of Nur Energie commented: “Nur Energie has been focused on utility scale climate change mitigation by opening new energy doors. The TuNur project with the recent investment by Low Carbon, will help drive this strategy and together we will be a force in striving to secure and decarbonise Europe at an affordable price”.
He added: “Recent news around Desertec (Dii) has raised some questions about the concept of North African solar. CSP is a proven technology and the Sahara is an area of optimum solar resource, as demonstrated by our three year study showing direct normal irradiance (“DNI”) of 2,500kWh/m2/Yr. Successful Government programmes such as MASEN in Morocco prove that developing solar in the Sahara is a cost effective source of renewable energy today. This coupled with the growing energy demand and need for low carbon and non-intermittent power in Europe makes North Africa an optimum region for large scale solar development. Governments, investors and developers – including many of those involved in Dii – remain enthusiastic about the validity of this solution. The TuNur project, which has no relation to Dii, is being developed with a clear strategy and has the backing of investors who are fully behind the project.”
Low Carbon recently increased its stake in Nur Energie to become one of the company’s largest shareholders.
Low Carbon invests in renewable energy companies and projects embracing innovations such as solar photovoltaic, concentrated solar power, wind and anaerobic digestion technologies. So far, through its investments, the company has funded, is building and/or operating sustainable initiatives with a renewable energy capacity of more than 350MW.
About Low Carbon
Low Carbon is a privately owned investment company, committed to the development and operation of renewable energy power production. Low Carbon invests into both renewable energy developers and projects across a range of renewable energy technologies including solar, wind, anaerobic digestion and concentrated solar power. The company has a strong management team with a proven track record in the development, construction, financing and management of more than 350MW of UK renewable energy assets. Low Carbon also has a dedicated asset management team that currently manages assets on balance sheet and for third parties (unlisted and listed).
About Nur Energie
Nur Energie is an independent solar power plant developer focused on significant climate change mitigation by opening new energy corridors. Nur is developing utility scale concentrated solar power (“CSP”) and photovoltaic (“PV”) projects in Southern Europe and North Africa that are capable of producing low carbon, base load power at competitive prices, all whilst generating significant socio economic benefits within the regions it develops in. Nur currently has over 2,200MW of under development in Greece, Morocco, Tunisia and France.
Low Carbon’s Lackford Estate Solar Park achieved industry recognition by winning the Solar Power Portal Award for best utility scale solar farm >10MW. The award recognises the solar farm whose commercial viability, yield and ROI is matched by its commitment to sustainable development. Lackford Estate Solar Park demonstrated excellence in site selection, minimal visual impact, system design, on-site generation and yield, community engagement, biodiversity and overall project management.
Sited on 87 acres of Suffolk farmland and invisible from nearby roads thanks to woodland boundaries, Lackford Estate is a solar PV development producing 20,168 MWh and annually powering 6,112 homes. The low-lying site runs beside an SSSI; during construction, care was taken to ensure protection of flora and fauna, and adjacent land will continue to be managed in favour of nesting stone curlews. With the location’s layout considered favourable for the development, excellent project management meant a trouble-free delivery; despite severe weather and tight timelines, the site was commissioned on 29 March 2014, just one year after initial discussions.
Lackford Estate Solar Park was developed by Inazin and the EPC on the project was Goldbeck Solar GmbH. All equipment used on the site conforms to the relevant quality standards with panels supplied by REC and inverters by SMA.
Low Carbon, the renewable energy investment company, is expanding its senior management team with the appointment of Juan Martin Alfonso as Chief Financial Officer. The move is part of Low Carbon’s strategy to build one of the strongest management teams in the energy investment industry, in order to effectively pursue its long term goal of making a significant and positive impact on the causes of climate change.
Alfonso joins from the AES Corporation, a Fortune 500 global power company with 35 GW of generating capacity and $16 billion in annual revenues, where he spent 12 years in a variety of senior finance roles around the world, including CFO of Europe and the Middle East and EMEA Finance Managing Director.
His expertise includes financial management, accounting, planning, treasury, and risk management, built on operations, financing and complex transactions.
Alfonso brings a wealth of knowledge relating to deal structuring and project management of energy generation portfolios. His expertise will help Low Carbon to continue making sound investments in renewable energy projects.
Alfonso says: “I was attracted to Low Carbon because it combines a profitable and sustainable business model with a determination to improve the environment. It is a great opportunity for me to use my experience to maximise the efficiency and opportunities that renewable energy projects can unlock not only for investors, but for the environment and society as a whole.”
Roy Bedlow, CEO of Low Carbon says that: “In order to effectively invest in the best renewable energy projects, in the most efficient way, we need the best people. Juan’s impressive background will be greatly beneficial to our short and long term investment and asset development goals in our pursuit of positive climate change.”
Low Carbon is a privately-owned UK investment company which invests in, owns and operates renewable energy projects – including solar, wind, hydro and anaerobic digestion – taking projects from early stage investment to full scale operation. It is committed to making a positive and significant impact on the causes of climate change.
In the latest expansion of its renewables portfolio, Low Carbon, the renewable energy investment company, has announced the completion of a deal to build a new solar park at Berwick in East Sussex, in collaboration with Macquarie Capital.
The solar park, which will consist of fixed ground-mounted solar PV panels, will have an output capacity of 8.2MW, with annual production being 8,705MWh – enough to power more than 2,300 homes. The clean energy generated will save approximately 3,514 tonnes of carbon equivalent per annum.
Construction of the park begins this month, and is expected to begin exporting electricity into the national grid in early 2015.
Macquarie Capital is providing construction funding to the project.
Low Carbon is investing in an international portfolio of renewable energy assets including utility-scale solar PV, onshore wind, concentrated solar power (CSP) and anaerobic digestion that will amount to a combined output of more than 2.3GW clean energy. To date, Low Carbon has funded more than 206MW of UK solar assets both in construction and operation, which represents approximately 12% of the UK solar market.
John Cole, Chief Investment Officer of Low Carbon, says: “Renewable energy technologies have demonstrated substantial performance improvements and cost reductions and are now being deployed at significant scale. Companies such as Low Carbon will continue to fight to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels and increase the scale of renewable energy to support a low carbon future. Now is the right time for investors to get behind renewable energy and address two of the biggest challenges facing the UK: energy security and climate change.”
“The International Energy Agency calculates that investment of $53 trillion is needed in energy infrastructure by 2035 to stand a chance of limiting climate change to the critical 2oC. There is an economic and environmental imperative to make significant private investment in renewable energy. That is what we are doing.”
Mark Dooley, Head of Development Capital at Macquarie, says: “Macquarie is delighted to be able to continue to support the Low Carbon team through provision of construction funding for their UK solar projects. Macquarie’s collaboration with Low Carbon demonstrates our commitment to supporting clients in the renewable energy sector.”
About Low Carbon
Low Carbon is a privately owned investment company, committed to the development and operation of renewable energy power production. Low Carbon invests into both renewable energy developers and projects across a range of renewable energy technologies including solar, wind, anaerobic digestion and concentrated solar power. Low Carbon has a strong management team with a proven track record in development, construction, financing and management of UK solar assets, with over 200MW funded and in construction and operation today. Low Carbon remains involved in the projects for the long term. Low Carbon has a dedicated asset management team that currently manages assets on balance sheet and for third parties (unlisted and listed).
About Macquarie Group
Macquarie Group (Macquarie) is a leading provider of banking, financing, advisory, investment and fund management services. The Group has offices in all major financial centres. Founded in 1969, Macquarie employs more than 13,900 people in 28 countries. At 30 September 2013, Macquarie had assets under management of £222 billion.
Low Carbon’s Lackford Estate Solar Park has been nominated for a Solar Power Portal Award.
Solar Power Portal is the UK’s leading solar news site. Its awards focus on all areas of the solar industry, celebrating good practice, professionalism, quality, safety and innovation within the sector. They honour 12 companies or projects in total.
Low Carbon have been shortlisted for the ‘>10MW solar park’ category. This category rewards utility-scale ground mounted solar farms for commercial viability, yield, ROI and commitment to sustainable development.
The Lackford Estate Solar Park is a utility-scale, ground-mounted solar PV development with a total installed generation capacity of 20.930 MWp and an annual production of 20,168 MWh – enough to power over 6,000 homes per annum (based on Ofgem estimates). It is situated on 3,000 acres of low-lying arable farmland in Suffolk.
During the construction phase, work took place to avoid impacts on ground nesting birds and reptiles and special precautions were implemented to ensure the protection of the local flora and fauna.
Low Carbon has enabled the investment of more than £200 million in capital to build renewable energy capacity efficiently and cost-effectively. It has funded and built and/or operates over 200MW of solar PV assets; enough to power more than 55,000 three-bedroom homes annually.
Roy Bedlow, CEO of Low Carbon, says “The nomination is a great indicator of the growth and success of Low Carbon, and supports us on our trajectory to become a major investor in renewable energy, committed to a low carbon future.”
The winners will be announced on the 14th October at a gala event in Birmingham, hosted by TV presenter Kate Humble.