Higher wind resources cushion effect of lower power prices

WORLDWIDE: Generation from new wind projects contributed to higher earnings for developers in the first quarter of 2018, even as power prices fell in some markets.

Boost… All 116 of Rampion’s turbines off England are now able to generate electricity for E.on (pic: Darren Cool/E.on)
Boost… All 116 of Rampion’s turbines off England are now able to generate electricity for E.on (pic: Darren Cool/E.on)

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Danish developer Ørsted posted a 20% rise in revenue for the first quarter of 2018 to DKK 19.8 billion (€2.66 billion), while Ebitda increased 68% to DKK 5.5 billion.

Profits from the firm’s offshore wind farms grew 51% to DKK 3.2 billion, due to the completion and ramp-up of Race Bank and the Walney and Burbo Bank Extensions in the UK. The sites also experienced higher than average wind speeds in the quarter, boosting production, Ørsted said.

Revenue from its wind business grew 43% year on year. Ørsted’s board has increased Ebitda guidance for 2018 from DKK 12-13 billion to DKK 12.5-13.5 billion.

Ørsted CEO Henrik Poulsen indicated 2018 would see Ørsted begin to make an impact beyond northern Europe. The company has submitted bids in offshore tenders in the US, Taiwan and Germany, the results for all of which are due soon.

Iberdrola has recorded a net profit of €838 million in Q1 2018, a 1.2% increase on the previous year. The group’s Ebitda grew 24% year on year to €2.32 billion, while investments totalled €1.19 billion, up 14.1%.

Roughly 37% of investments in Q1 were made in renewables, the company said. The division’s Ebitda grew 13.9% year on year to €603 million, thanks to better wind conditions and a 5% rise in installed capacity to 29.3GW.

The Spanish firm said the Q1 results were in line with expectations for the year and predicted an Ebitda of €9 billion for 2018, with net profit totalling €3 billion.

Iberdrola’s US subsidiary Avangrid made a net profit of $243 million in Q1, up 7% year on year, but its renewables business saw net profit fall to $50 million, from $70 million.

Vattenfall recorded an underlying profit of SEK 9.4 billion (€902.4 million) in the first quarter of 2018, with its wind business unit contributing SEK 1.04 billion, up 21% from SEK 858 million.

Net sales rose from SEK 2.54 billion to SEK 2.96 billion due to new capacity and "positive price effects", but the wind-generation total remained flat due to "lower winds and curtailments", the firm said.

During Q1, Vattenfall secured the winning bid for the subsidy-free Hollandse Kust Zuid 1 & 2 offshore wind farm in the Netherlands.

Revenue for Acciona’s energy division grew 12% year on year to €519 million in the first quarter, largely due to more production at its wind farms in Spain and the US, which made up for lower energy prices in Spain.

Acciona’s energy division’s operating profit grew 5.7% year on year to €220 million, but its earnings before tax dropped 26.5%, from €70 million to €51 million, mostly due to consolidation and the effect of exchange rates, Acciona stated.

Pattern Energy is in an "excellent position" to make further acquisitions after posting revenue of $111.6 million, up 10.7% year on year, and an operating profit of $81.9 million, up 6.9%, the US company said.

It recorded a net loss of $12.6 million, down from a net income of $2.5 million in Q1 2017, which it put down mainly to acquisitions.

Pattern entered Japan’s energy market in Q1 2018, acquiring 206MW of wind and solar PV projects jointly owned by one of its investment funds and a Japanese subsidiary.

E.on’s renewable sales and operating profit both rose nearly 7% in the first quarter, despite a drop in the sales prices for its power output. Sales in its renewables unit rose from €376 million in Q1 2017 to €401 million a year later, while operating profit increased from €160 to €171 million.

The rise in sales was due to new US projects and better wind conditions in the UK and Italy. Meanwhile, the renewables division’s operating profit rose primarily thanks to the 400MW Rampion wind farm.

In March, the company reached an agreement with fellow German utility RWE for a complex asset swap that will see E.on acquire RWE’s 76.8% stake in Innogy. In return, RWE will acquire a 16.67% "effective participation" in E.on and take over Innogy’s renewables division, which reported a 15.7% year-on-year rise in Ebit for Q1 2018, up from €134 million to €155 million.

Newly commissioned projects, including the 332MW Nordsee One and 353MW Galloper offshore sites, added to earnings.

In January, Innogy acquired a 400MW pipeline of German wind farms from developer Primus Energie.

EDP Renovaveis (EDPR) saw net profit grow by 39% year on year to €94.1 million in Q1 2018. While capacity additions and improved wind resources produced a 14% increase in electricity generation, sales rose by only 4% to €476.3 million due to lower power prices and currency fluctuations.

The company’s revenues remained stable at €528 million while operating income grew by 4% to €252 million, and Ebitda was up by a more modest 2% at €380.6 million.

Total investments were 172% higher year-on-year at €265 million, €136 million of which was in North America.

Operating profit for EnBW’s renewables segment rose 20.3% year on year from €79.3 million in Q1 2017 to €95.4 million a year later, mainly due to the 204MW of onshore wind farms commissioned last year.

EnBW entered Taiwan’s offshore wind market in the first quarter of 2018, acquiring a 35% stake in three sites with the potential to hold up to 2GW, from partners Macquarie Capital and Swancor Renewables.

It also recently started construction of the 497MW Hohe See and 112MW Albatros projects in the German North Sea.

Newly commissioned projects and higher wind resources boosted Northland Power’s revenue in the first quarter of 2018. The Canadian company’s sales increased 33.5% year-on-year to C$486 million (US$376.9 million), while operating profit rose 46.5% from C$198 million to C$290 million.

Improved performance from wind farms in France and contributions from newly commissioned projects boosted Canadian developer Boralex’s Q1 operating profit to C$104 million (US$80.35 million), up 19.5% from C$87 million a year earlier.

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