Eddie O’Connor’s Mainstream sells Scottish wind farm project to France’s EDF

Mainstream Renewable Power, the green energy group founded a decade ago by businessman Eddie O’Connor, has sold a wind farm project off the coast of Scotland to a unit of French utilities giant Electricite de France (EDF).

While terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, Mainstream’s chief executive, Andy Kinsella, told The Irish Times in an interview earlier this year that it would sell for a “multiple” of an abortive €100 million deal struck two years ago.

The 2014 transaction fell through as a bird protection charity mounted a legal challenge against such developments. However, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in Scotland failed last November to get leave to pursue a final attempt through the UK supreme court to block offshore wind farms originally approved by Scottish ministers in 2014.

The surge in the value of Neart na Gaoithe 450 megawatt (MW) project, capable of powering all homes in a city the size of Edinburgh, comes as the cost developing the offshore wind farms has slumped in recent years, while the scheme benefits from a 15-year, inflation-linked power supply deal struck three years’ ago at 2012 prices.

The total investment required to deliver the project is about £2 billion.

“We are very pleased to be bringing in such an established partner and support of the Scottish energy industry in EDF Renewables to this vital infrastructure project for Scotland,” said Mr Kinsella. “The completion of this sale adds to Mainstream’s global track record as the leading independent developer of some of the most significant and complex wind and solar projects across Europe, South America, Africa and Asia.”

The acquisition follows EDF Renewables opening new offices in Edinburgh early last year and its subsequent purchase of 11 onshore wind farms with the potential capacity of 600 megawatts.