China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) struck a deal with French utility company Électricité de France (EDF) earlier this week to pay more than $150 million for an 80 percent share in three of EDF’s UK wind farms. The Financial Times reports that EDF will retain a 20 percent stake, and continue to operate the farms as well as buy the electricity they generate.
The deal is CGN’s first in Europe, discounting its offshore wind power plans with Areva, which Wind Power Monthly says have not gone through since they were announced a year ago. Since Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to China in 2013, many Chinese companies, including China Investment Corporation and the Sanpower Group, have invested in the UK. Fellow renewable energy companies China Three Gorges Corporation and Gingko Tree are also investing in energy assets in Europe.
These investments come as China tries to shift toward cleaner energy and promote their domestic technology in this area abroad. CGN—China’s largest nuclear power provider—also owns Mortons Lane Wind Farm in Australia, and is planning to build two nuclear reactors in Romania.
EDF plans to use the proceeds from the sale of its wind farms toward other renewable energy projects in the UK, including the Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor in Somerset for which CGN is a potential investor.