COMPETITIVE ENERGY

Jamaica 2019 | GREEN ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

Neoen strives to produce the most competitive electricity on a sustainable and local basis.

Maxime de Villemandy
BIOGRAPHY
Maxime de Villemandy has been Project Manager at Neoen since early 2018. He has experience in infrastructure development in western Africa, where he was in charge of renewable energy projects for the French Agency for Development. He holds a master’s of science from Imperial College London.

What have been the main highlights for Neoen in the Caribbean and worldwide?

The last half of 2018 was rather exciting for us. In summer 2018, we surpassed the 1GW threshold of capacity in operation and under construction in Australia, where we reassessed our number-one position as an IPP. In October, Neoen successfully raised EUR697 million through its IPO on the French market. In November, we started the operation of a 189-MWp in Australia and closed the financing of a 140-MWp solar project with 3-MW battery storage in El Salvador. Neoen targets 5GW capacity in operation and under construction by 2021. In Jamaica, Neoen is currently working on the construction of a 51-MWp solar project. Based in Westmoreland, this PV farm called Paradise Park is mainly owned by Neoen, alongside Rekamniar Frontier Venture and MPC Capital. Once in operation, Paradise Park will deliver to Jamaica the cheapest electrical energy ever made available in the Caribbean region.

What are your ambitions in Jamaica?

Jamaica was one of the first countries Neoen started its overseas activities. We are enthusiastic about the market here, as it enjoys outstanding resources in terms of renewable energy, notably sun and wind, and appears to have a strong potential for electricity cost reduction with a direct impact on the final consumer. There is a great deal of room to improve the renewable energy share integrated into the grid. We intend to remain one of the leading green IPPs in Jamaica. We are one of the leading experts in terms of storage integration. We are the developer and owner of the world's largest battery currently in operation, which is 100MW/129MWh and is based in Australia with equipment provided by Tesla. The electricity we sell is green and competitive, but also reliable. It is a key differentiating asset for the energy security of the countries we are based in.

How do you produce cost-competitive renewable energy?

Our Paradise Park project was the winning project of 19 bids in a competitive tender launched by the Jamaican Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR). It will deliver to Jamaica the cheapest electrical energy ever made available here or in the Caribbean: USD0.085 per kWh. In each and every tender, we can never be certain we can produce the most competitive energy because it depends on many features, though Neoen, for many reasons, enjoys a sound track record. Among others we can highlight our develop-to-own business model, our strong expertise, and our environmental and social commitments to local communities. For example, in our latest Mexican tender, Neoen won the biggest project with a 375-MW PV farm.

What are your expansion prospects related to the goal of operating and building a 5GW capacity by 2021?

Neoen is active in more than 11 countries and equally balanced across Europe, Australia, and the Americas, the last currently having more projects in the pipeline than in operation or under construction. We expect to keep roughly the same breakdown of activity in the coming years, with more projects in the Americas. Hence, we will launch the construction of our 375-MW PV farm in Mexico in 2019, as well as the first of our two 101MW-each PV projects in Argentina. In El Salvador, we launched the construction of a 140-MW solar project, with a total of 244MW in service and under construction there.

What are your goals for 2019?

In Jamaica, we plan on starting our Paradise Park project in 2019. On a broader basis, we will pursue strong growth in all the countries we currently are active in.