Italy’s Enel teams up with QIA for Africa green energy play

 Italy’s Enel teams up with QIA for Africa green energy play

Italian power utility Enel has partnered with the sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) to set up and operate green energy assets in South Africa and Zambia.

As per the terms of the agreement, the Qatari fund will acquire half the stake of Enel Green Power S.p.A in energy projects totaling 800 megawatts in the two African countries.

Enel Green is the renewable energy arm of Italy’s largest utility power company.

The two parties didn’t disclose the deal value.

Francesco Starace, Enel CEO and general manager, said the Italian company already has expertise in business development, engineering and construction, as well as operation and maintenance of renewable energy plants.

“Through this new partnership, we will combine our group’s sustainable strategy… with QIA’s long-term investment strategy, in line with the two companies’ sustainability and decarbonization targets,” Starace said.

Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud, CEO at QIA, said that the fund was committed to supporting the transition to a low-carbon future and that it believed this investment would make a significant environmental and social impact.

Enel has outlined plans to spend €160 billion on green energy projects in the next decade, with an aim to becoming carbon free by 2050.

The company has also said that it sees greater opportunities for its renewable energy business under the new US administration led by President Joe Biden. The company plans to add 1 gigawatt of renewable energy capacities in the US this year.

Apart from the US, Enel has been looking to expand across several European countries including Italy, Spain and Romania, its green energy head Salvatore Barnabei has reportedly said.

Like sovereign wealth funds of other oil-rich countries, QIA is also now focussed on green energy. The Qatari fund has, in fact, stopped pumping fresh capital into fossil fuels and is now focussing only on renewables, as far as its energy investments go.

Other funds with an increased commitment in the global renewable energy segment include the Norwegian Government Pension Fund, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and Mubadala Investment Company, to name a few.

Vivek Sinha

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