AtlasInvest is backing the new renewables platform Aukera, which plans to deliver 2.7 GW of new projects across Europe by the end of 2022, the Belgium-based energy investor with roots in the oil refining sector said Nov. 18.
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Already fully funded, Aukera will focus initially on the UK, Italy, Germany, Romania and Poland, where it has secured over 1 GW onshore wind and solar projects, it said.
Aukera was launched by a team of renewable energy veterans who have already built several successful renewable ventures with the backing of AtlasInvest, the Belgium-based, family-owned investment firm with stakes in both renewable companies such as ForMotion, as well as conventional energy such as Swiss and German refineries, Dutch gas and oil company ONE-Dyas and Carlyle's energy fund CIEP.
AtlasInvest Chairman Marcel van Poecke, who founded the investment firm in 2007 after taking Swiss refiner Petroplus private, said: "We are once again pleased to provide the necessary capital to ensure this new platform can make an immediate impact, while committing to a longer-term growth strategy."
Shift towards subsidy-free renewables
Aukera co-founder Catalin Breaban told S&P Global Platts in an interview Nov. 18. that the "majority of projects we look at in Europe are now subsidy-free."
Breaban added that Aukera was looking for long-term power purchase agreement contracts with corporates and traders to help reduce its merchant risk after European power prices hit record highs this quarter, driven by the unprecedented rally in gas.
Platts assessed UK year-ahead baseload power at GBP140.41/MWh on Nov.17, tripling so far this year, with a similar trajectory for most European power contracts.
"Values for 10-year PPAs have gone up by perhaps Eur10-20/MWh since the summer, but renewables were already competitive," he added.
Aukera is targeting long-term growth in the energy transition area and sees the rise in project costs from soaring commodity prices and supply chain disruptions as temporary, likewise the current spike in power prices.
The statement did not provide any financial details of the investment volumes secured via AtlasInvest.
Co-founder Pascal Emsens said an "inventive and creative approach means we can help to identify, build, and operate projects that don't always fit the typical mold," while "priority was bolstering the pipeline of projects by building partnerships with developers, communities and landowners."
As of November 2021, the company has onboarded more than 1 GW of projects, and is targeting an additional 1.7 GW in 2022 encompassing solar, onshore wind, storage, and other high-impact energy transition solutions.
Aukera is looking at projects in all stages of development, estimating an average one to three years lead time for projects from ready-to-build status to commissioning.
The pan-European developer has local teams in the UK, Italy, Poland, Romania, Germany, and Belgium and highlighted a new wind project in Italy with up to 100 MW capacity as an initial launch project that still benefits from feed-in tariffs.
Up to 80% of Aukera's project pipeline could be subsidy-free, potentially benefitting from Guarantees of Origin (GOs).
Platts assessed EU wind and solar GOs above Eur2/MWh from 2023 vintage onwards on Nov. 17, more than doubling in value this year amid a faster policy shift towards renewables in Europe, while record fuel and CO2 prices further boosted the economic viability of projects.