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Equinor announces its first hybrid project in renewable energies, to be developed in Brazil

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Serra da Babilônia Hybrid Complex
Serra da Babilônia Hybrid Complex

Equinor announces the final investment decision for execution of the 140 MWp Serra da Babilônia Solar Complex (“SdB Solar Complex”). SdB Solar Complex will be located in the state of Bahia within the area of Serra da Babilônia I, a complex of operational wind parks operated by Rio Energy.

Rio Energy, Brazilian onshore renewables company, was acquired by Equinor in 2023 to be its platform for growth in onshore renewables in the country.

“SdB Solar marks the first investment decision under Equinor ownership and will be Rio Energy’s first solar project. This is an important milestone for us, and our organisation is very motivated to deliver the project safely and efficiently”, says Marcos Meireles, CEO of Rio Energy.

Construction start of SdB Solar is planned for September 2024 and commercial operation is expected by the end of 2025.

The hybrid model enables complementary wind and solar power production. SdB Solar will use the existing interconnection system and will not require additional capacity from the grid. It will inject energy to the grid when the wind projects are not utilizing the grid capacity, optimizing the total energy production.

“We are pleased to approve this investment only seven months after the acquisition of Rio Energy. Our ownership in this platform creates a strong basis for building a profitable renewables portfolio in Brazil, by leveraging the capabilities of Rio Energy and maximizing synergies with our trading house Danske Commodities. This is also our fourth project in the Northeast region of Brazil, reinforcing the relevance of the area in offering renewable energy sources”, says Veronica Coelho, Equinor country manager in Brazil.

In line with Equinor’s strategy for Brazil, once operational, the energy produced by SdB Solar Complex will ultimately be traded by Equinor’s wholly owned energy trading house, Danske Commodities. The project is expected to yield returns in line with prior guidance for renewables in Equinor.

“Thanks to the strong and committed team in Rio Energy, we are making excellent progress towards our renewables objectives in Brazil and with SdB Solar Complex sanctioned, we now have ~600 MW of solar and wind in production and under construction in Brazil”, says Christian Lie Hansen, vice president of onshore renewables Americas. “This investment decision reinforces the relevance of Brazil as a key area for delivering on our ambition to be a leader in the energy transition, focusing on profitable growth in renewables”.

Equinor renewables onshore portfolio in Brazil

Equinor’s renewables position in Brazil includes three assets in commercial production: the 162 MW Apodi solar complex (44%), the 531 MW Mendubim solar complex (30%) and the 223 MW Serra da Babilônia 1 onshore wind farms (100%). There is also an over 1,5 GW pipeline of solar and onshore wind projects being matured by Equinor’s fully owned subsidiary Rio Energy.

Equinor is an international energy company committed to creating long-term value in a low-carbon future. With a portfolio that spans oil, gas, renewable energy and low-carbon solutions, Equinor is the main operator on the Norwegian continental shelf and is present in around 30 countries around the world. In Brazil, a fundamental strategic area in the company's international business, the growing portfolio includes assets in oil and gas and renewable energy.

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