Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), an infrastructure investment fund, announced last week the acquirement of Equis Energy at a record breaking price for the renewable industry: $5 billion. Headquartered in Singapore, Equis Energy is the largest renewable energy independent power producer (IPP) in the Asia‐Pacific region and the 11th largest global solar developer, with over 180 assets comprising 11,135MW in operation, construction and development across Australia, Japan, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. The acquisition is part of a larger push into renewables by GIP, following another recent acquirement of a 50% stake in a 330-megawatt offshore wind farm in the North Sea.
GIP is not alone in the pursuit of cleaner alternatives. Shell, yet another giant, is now reported to invest $200 million per year in renewables. In a move not unlike GIP, it has also acquired MP2, a Texas-based company with 1.7 gigawatts of solar, wind, landfill gas and natural gas projects. On the other side of the world, the Italian Enel has won a tender to build a solar plant in Metehara, Ethiopia, claiming it part of Enel’s “Strategy in Africa”. Alongside their other projects in South Australia (Bungala Solar Plant) and Zambia (Ngonye Plant)- it seems to have as big of an aspiration as GIP.
The renewable-investment is a smart move considering the numbers: renewable power generating capacity saw its largest annual increase ever in 2016, accounting for an estimated 62% of net additions to global power generating capacity. The global solar energy market alone is expected to expand at the rapid rate of almost 25% per year on average through 2022 to reach $422 billion. The trend is especially prominent in Asia, where renewable-power is attracting more investor interest as local governments seek alternatives to fossil fuels to meet rising energy demand and combat pollution, making the investment in Equis, with its growing queue of solar projects across the Asia-Pacific region- a lucrative investment and a strategic foothold.