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China’s CGN enters Ireland with 230MW wind buy

The nuclear giant’s renewable energy unit has acquired 14 wind farms from Irish developer Gaelectric as it seeks to expand its European presence.

A subsidiary of Chinese nuclear power firm CGN Group has bought 14 wind farms in Ireland with a total capacity of 230MW.

CGN Europe Energy bought the portfolio from Irish wind developer Gaelectric. It comprises 10 operating wind farms with a capacity of 184MW, with the remaining four under development and expected to be operational by the middle of next year. The firms declined to state the terms of the deal.

The assets are equally split between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, with seven sites in each. Eoghan Murphy, the Republic of Ireland’s Minister of State for Financial Services and Public Procurement, attended the signing of the deal.

The portfolio sale concludes a process Gaelectric began at the beginning of this year. According to CGN, it fought off competition from investors in the US, UK and Germany as well as what it described as “mainstream investment institutions”.

The deal marks CGN’s entry into the Irish renewable energy market and the company hopes the transaction will help enhance its reputation in the British Isles after it came under considerable scrutiny in the UK over its role in the £18 billion ($22.6 billion; €21.4 billion) Hinkley Point C nuclear plant project.

CGN’s deal in Ireland adds to a growing European renewables portfolio which includes wind projects in France and Belgium. The company described its entry into Ireland as the beginning of a long-term partnership with Gaelectric, which also has significant solar and energy storage interests.

“This agreement allows us to support the group’s balance sheet, paying down debt and creating the foundations for our other operational and development interests in the renewable energy sector, including a near-term development pipeline across wind, solar, biomass and energy storage,” CGN said, noting that these projects included a 330MW compressed air storage facility in Northern Ireland.