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EDF Renewables to sell 50% stake in US renewables portfolio to UAE's Masdar

Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.-headquartered renewable energy firm Masdar dramatically expanded its presence in the U.S. renewable energy sector Aug. 13 by entering an agreement to acquire a 50% stake in a nearly 1,600-MW portfolio of wind, solar and battery storage projects being developed by EDF Renewables Inc.'s North America division.

The portfolio of projects, all expected to be in operation by next year, includes 815 MW of wind farms, 689 MW of solar resources and 75 MW of battery storage.

"As the second-largest renewable energy producer in the world in terms of installed power capacity, the U.S. offers considerable scope for further growth and diversification of our renewable energy portfolio," Masdar CEO Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi said in a news release.

Masdar, owned by the Abu Dhabi government's Mudabala Investment Co., entered the U.S. market in 2019 through the purchase of a 50% interest in two wind farms, one in New Mexico and one in Texas.

In the partnership with EDF Renewables, the wind farms include the 300-MW Milligan I Wind Project in Saline County, Neb.; the 273-MW Las Majadas Wind Project in Willacy County, Texas; and the 243-MW Coyote wind project in Scurry County, Texas. All three are expected to begin commercial operations in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The solar farms include the Desert Harvest I and Desert Harvest II projects in Riverside County, Calif., with a combined generation capacity of 213 MW and an adjacent 35 MW/140 MWh of battery storage. Also part of the transaction are the 173-MW unit 1 and 136-MW unit 4 of the Maverick solar project, previously known as Palen, in Riverside County, Calif. These projects are slated for commercial operations in the fourth quarter of 2020 as well.

In Kern County, Calif., Masdar is also taking a 50% interest in the Big Beau Solar+Storage Project, which the two partners said has 166 MW of solar capacity plus 40 MW/160 MWh of battery storage capability. It is to be in operation in 2021.

The output of the individual projects will be sold under long-term contracts to a variety of off-takers, including utilities, hedge providers and community choice aggregators, the companies said.

The transaction is also expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020. BofA Securities is acting as exclusive financial adviser to Masdar.

EDF Renewables' parent company, Electricité de France SA, in July joined a consortium including Masdar that will build a 2,000-MW solar facility in Abu Dhabi.