Brookfield becomes US renewables major with $2.8 billion Duke Energy deal

Brookfield has completed its acquisition of US utility Duke Energy’s commercial renewables business, closing a deal first announced in June.

The investment management giant is paying around $2.8 billion for the unregulated renewables business, which includes around 3.4GW of operational wind, solar and battery storage capacity, plus a 6.1GW development pipeline.

Wind is estimated to represent around half of the 5.9GW in operation or under construction included in the deal. Meanwhile, solar projects dominate the development pipeline.

The deal does not include the lease Duke Energy secured off the coast of the Carolinas. It will continue development of this through its regulated business.

It turns Brookfield into one of the world’s largest publicly traded pure renewable power companies, while Duke stated the transaction would allow it to concentrate on its regulated energy business.

“The completion of this sale marks the final step in our transition to a fully regulated utility,” said Duke Energy CEO and chair Lynn Good.

Despite the sale, Duke plans to invest heavily in renewable energy over the coming decade to incorporate 30GW of regulated renewable energy into its system by 2035.

On the regulated side, market regulators stipulate the fixed rates of return utilities can make on their investments in renewable energy projects, and – if necessary – allow them to raise customers’ energy bills to ensure they achieve the expected profits. On the unregulated side, utilities compete against other project developers on a merchant basis.