Enel Green Power eyes East Africa to drive growth

Enel Green Power Chairman Francesco Starace speaks during a Reuters interview at the Enel office in central Rome September 8, 2009. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's Enel Green Power, one of the world's biggest renewable energy groups, is looking to East Africa to drive its expansion plans in the continent over the next few years, its chief executive said on Monday. "Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda will be a priority and we plan to develop wind, solar and geothermal," Francesco Starace told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference. Enel Green Power, present in 16 countries, has been slowly shifting investment away from core markets Italy and Spain that in 2012 accounted for 61 percent of installed capacity and 68 percent of core earnings, to faster growing emerging economies. Italy's biggest renewable energy group, 63 percent owned by Europe's No. 2 utility Enel, made the move in response to sluggish power demand and uncertain regulation at home. Starace said the company was not interested in buying renewable energy assets that troubled Italian energy group Sorgenia is set to sell. The company, which has a strong presence in Latin America where Enel unit Endesa operates, has identified Africa and the Middle East as new areas for growth. "East Africa has relatively good political stability and good resources and will help drive development over the next 5-6 years," Starace said. Enel Green Power recently won projects to supply 513 megawatts of solar and wind energy in South Africa and plans to bid for more capacity in upcoming tenders. The IEA has calculated that about 40 percent of additional power generation capacity in Africa to 2035 will come from renewable sources. Enel Green Power, which last year earmarked 6.1 billion euros in investments for the period 2013-2017, is set to present its new business plan on April 3.

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