CALGARY – Enbridge Inc. is investing $750 million in a U.K. offshore wind project as it sees green power playing a bigger role in the global energy mix.
The Calgary-based company (TSX:ENB), best known for its vast North American network of oil pipelines, says it sees opportunity to grow its renewables business in Europe.
It’s partnering with a company called E.ON in the 400-megawatt Rampion Offshore Wind Project.
Enbridge will have just under a quarter interest in the development 13 kilometres off the U.K. Sussex coast.
Construction began in September and Rampion is expected to be fully up and running in 2018.
Enbridge CEO Al Monaco says it’s not just about the wider push for lower carbon emissions — any investment in renewable power must deliver healthy returns.
“We’d all agree that if you look to the future, we’re going to see a lower carbon intensity in our economy, I think broadly speaking, that’s part of the equation,” Monaco said on a conference call.
“The other part of the equation for us is fundamentally, these investments need to generate good risk-adjusted returns.”
Enbridge and its peers have had a tougher time in recent years building new crude pipelines, but Monaco said that hasn’t played a “direct role” in its approach to renewables.
The company has had a permit in hand for over a year to build its controversial Northern Gateway pipeline through B.C., but has not made a final decision to proceed as it tries to get First Nations along the pipeline’s route on board.
Its reversed and expanded Line 9 pipeline from southwestern Ontario to Montreal was finally given the National Energy Board’s blessing to start up in September after about a year of delay.
Enbridge had initially aimed to begin shipping crude on the line in early 2015, but the regulator demanded clarity on the company’s approach to protecting waterways and ordered integrity testing on some segments of the line.
Enbridge has begun filling up the line and deliveries to refineries are expected to begin in December.
The Line 9 delay has been a drag on Enbridge’s bottom line. It now expects 2015 adjusted earnings to be at the low end of its previous estimates of between $2.05 and $2.35 per share of adjusted earnings.
The project update was included in Enbridge’s third-quarter financial report, which said its adjusted earnings were up from last year at $399 million or 45 cents per share. That was four cents below analyst estimates of 49 cents per share.
Enbridge also reported a $609 million net loss in the quarter, which included several unusual and non-recurring factors as well as the impact of changing foreign exchange rates on its financial derivatives.
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