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21 June 2019

Boralex shifts position slightly, chases solar, batteries – alongside wind

Canadian wind farm owner Boralex has neatly sidestepped the rise in the popularity of both solar and batteries in both France and the US, and their potential to eclipse wind power LCOE. It has come out with a new strategic plan which embraces both of these technologies in the US, France and also the UK.

So far the Montreal based company has weathered the poor political environment in its native Canada for renewables, by becoming the fastest growing wind farm operator in France. It now wants to actively embrace solar and batteries, and will more aggressively target the US as well.

It presented its new plan to financial analysts and investors as part of an Investor Day event and does not plan to desert offshore wind, which is where it has made its name, but aims to accelerate the development of solar energy projects in France and the US. At present Boralex is on “wait and hold” mode for its native Canada, which is politically more worried about an oil pipeline, than renewables.

It highlights the fresh commitment from New York State to solar energy, and says it will gradually develop energy storage capacity. It also says that in the US, where the trend is to sell directly to large corporates who have CSR targets around zero emissions, it will aim to sign contracts directly with large electricity-consuming corporations and gradually develop complementary services for networks and major energy users.

To pay for all this, Boralex says it will look to cash out any of its minority interests where it can get the right money for them, so that it can build positive cash flow of C$140 million to C$150 million by 2023, at a CAGR of 20% which will allow it to maintain it dividend policy of 40% to 60% of it discretionary cash flow being returned to investors.

Boralex says it will aim to have 2,800 MW of capacity by 2023. Today it has 2 GW and already has a portfolio of projects totaling a further 2.5 GW.