EDF stakes claim in Chinese wind with developer acquisition

The French energy company’s 80% stake in UPC gives it access to a market that Beijing intends to grow to 200GW by 2020.

The renewable energy division of EDF Group has entered the Chinese wind market with the acquisition of a project developer operating in the country.

EDF Energies Nouvelles’ 80 percent stake in UPC Asia Wind Management (AWM) gives the French power company the first European foothold in a Chinese market teeming with potential. AWM has a 174MW installed capacity, 130MW under construction and a pipeline of more than 1GW. The Chinese government has set the goal to reach 200GW of installed capacity by 2020.

The acquisition increases EDF Group’s wind portfolio by 1.3GW. The company now has a combined installed wind capacity of 10GW around the world. UPC China and the US-based Global Environment Fund will own the remaining 20 percent of AWM.

“Our development in high-potential markets such as China is a full part of this dynamic process,” Jean-Bernard Lévy, EDF Group chief executive, said in a statement. “This country, where we have been present for more than 30 years, is providing to the Group significant growth opportunities.”

EDF, which mostly operates in Europe and the US, has been turning its attention to emerging markets in a bid to grow its clean energy business. According to a UN-sponsored report published in June, developing countries including China, India and Brazil together committed some $156 billion to the renewable sector, surpassing developed countries’ total pledge of $130 billion.

In 2015, China was the country that invested the most in renewable energy, committing $102.9 billion, or 36 percent of the world’s total.