China Three Gorges (CTG), a Chinese state-owned energy company, bought 49% of Energias de Portugal (EDP) 's share of Portugal's largest wind farm cluster for 248 million euros ($290 million) at the end of June, and is planning further investments largely aimed at helping China to gain technological know-how.
The wind farms, with total designed installed capacity of 422 MW per annum, are the latest in a string of deals that have followed CTG's acquisition of a 21.35% stake in EDP in a 2.7-billion-euro deal.
The agreement also established a strategic partnership between the two companies, including a deal to invest an additional 2 billion euros in joint investments -- which has largely involved asset sales by the highly-indebted Portuguese utility.
CTG has bought 50% of EDP's hydropower business in Brazil, as well as stakes in wind farms in Italy, Poland and the U.K. The two companies agreed last year to pursue further joint investments worth 1.5 billion euros.
"Chinese companies are not sleeping on the job," said a leading researcher in clean energy development in Portugal, "EDP is one of the companies with more wind assets in the world and we've come a long way in developing know-how."
Portugal has one of the highest rates of renewable energy penetration in Europe, running for four days last year solely on clean energy sources. The challenge of managing distribution and transmission grids is prompting industrial and scientific innovation.
The researcher said that Chinese energy companies are not looking for profit in Portugal, but for a technology leap. "They can save 20 to 25 years -- it makes sense. Chinese investors are getting ahead on the learning curve with these companies," he added.
(Writing by Alex Guo Editing by Harry Huo)
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