November 6, 2019 / 2:35 PM / a month ago

RWE signs 30-year deal to sell U.S. solar power

FRANKFURT, Nov 6 (Reuters) - German utility RWE on Wednesday announced a 30-year supply deal struck by its U.S. renewables division under which it will sell solar power produced at the 195.5 megawatt (MW) Broken Spoke solar facility in Georgia to utility Georgia Power.

Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), which act as an insurance policy for the operator against falling power prices while locking in a purchase price for consumers, have long been common in the United States, southern Europe and Nordic countries.

They are of increasing interest to wholesale markets, consumers and project companies in other geographies that want to harness PPA expertise to spur renewables growth.

The Broken Spoke plant will be coupled with a 40 MW 2-hour battery energy storage device and deliver to Georgia Power, the largest subsidiary of U.S. gas and electricity holding company Southern Company, from 2021, both firms said in a joint press release.

Financial details were not disclosed, which is typical for PPAs for competitive reasons.

“This integrated solar plus storage facility will increase energy delivery during peak demand times and simplify integration of locally produced energy into the Georgia Power grid,” said Christoph Hunfeld, RWE’s head of asset commercialisation North America.

Essen-based RWE is diversifying from its role as traditional coal-burning utility and, by virtue of carving up subsidiary Innogy in an elaborate swap deal with rival E.ON , is becoming one of the largest renewable players worldwide.

It has committed to pouring an annual sum of 1.5 billion euros in net capital expenditure into the sector.

Project partnerships have the potential to increase total investment to between 2 and 3 billion euros per annum, it reiterated.

In the U.S., it has installed renewable capacity totalling 3.3 GW, while also commanding 1.4 GW under construction and a large project pipeline. (Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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