Mainstream Renewable Power to invest €3.1b on 8 wind and solar projects in 2014

Irish developer Mainstream Renewable Power expects to kick off construction on eight wind and solar projects with a combined capacity topping 1GW this year.

The shovel-ready schemes, which are spread across four continents and the largest of which is the 450MW Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm in Scotland, have been under development for five years and are expected to reach financial close in due course.

Preliminary construction activities are expected to begin at Neart na Gaoithe, which will be sited 15.5 kilometres off the coast of Fife, in late 2014 with first power in 2017.

In South Africa, construction at the 140MW Khobab, 140MW Loeriesfontein 2 and 80MW Noupoort wind farms is slated in the third quarter.

The 27MW San Manuel and 43MW Alena wind farms in Chile are due to break ground in late 2014 along with the 100MW Pedernales solar plant. The trio is being developed under a joint venture with investor Actis, which will own the sites.

In Canada, turbines will be installed at the 46MW Old Man 2 wind farm in July. The facility is expected to be operational in the autumn, at which point furniture giant IKEA will buy it.

All of the projects have planning permission and grid connections “are currently being finalised”, the company said.

Mainstream chief executive Eddie O’Connor (pictured) said: “We are now entering a very intensive growth phase. To put this into context, we are about to start building more megawatts than ESB ever put into construction in Ireland in a single year.

“We put almost 300MW into construction last year and we have an even larger portfolio of late-stage projects ready to go into construction next year.”

Mainstream already has six wind and solar projects in operation and construction across Ireland, South Africa and Chile.