Total buys stake in renewables developer

FRANCE: Oil and gas giant Total has bought a 23% stake in French renewable developer Eren Renewable Energy (Eren RE) for €237.5 million, marking another example of a fossil-fuel firm moving in to the wind market.

Eren RE has wind assets in Argentina, Egypt, Greece (pictured) and Zambia

Total acquired the share in Eren RE through a capital increase in the firm. Under the terms of the deal, Total will have the option to take full control of Eren RE after five years.

Following completion, which is still subject to regulatory approval, Eren RE will be renamed Total Eren.

"The capital increase subscribed by Total will enable Eren RE to cover its financing needs to accelerate its development in the coming years," the companies said in a joint statement.

Eren RE has roughly 650MW of wind, solar and hydro projects in operation or under construction across the world. It is aiming to install 3GW by 2023.

It has wind assets in Egypt, Greece, Zambia and Argentina, following last year's tender in the Latin American country.

Eren CEO David Corchia said the developer would maintain its managerial independence from the oil major.

"Thanks to our shareholders, the company, which was already one of the best capitalised players on the renewables market, will benefit from increased financial capacities to match its ambitions. This alliance is fully in line with our long-term vision: to transform an entrepreneurial project into a leading industrial group at international level," Corchia said.

It is Total's first move in to the wind market, but it has had a stake in the solar segment since 2011, as a majority shareholder in SunPower, the firm said.

"By partnering with Eren RE, we are leveraging a team that has a proven track record in renewable power production, and we are investing in an additional asset to accelerate our profitable growth in this segment, in line with our ambition to become the responsible energy major," Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne said.