Amancio Ortega, the founder of the Zara clothing brand, has entered the renewable energy market by acquiring a stake in a wind farm managed by Repsol, the Spanish energy giant. Ortega’s investment holding Pontegadea will pay $281 million for a 49 per cent stake in the Delta wind farm in the northern province of Zaragoza.

The wind farm, which began operations in March 2021, will generate 992 GWh of renewable energy every year, enough to power 300,000 homes for a year. Ortega’s investment business purchased a 5 per cent share in Enagas, the Spanish gas grid operator, in 2019 and also has a 5 per cent position in Red Electrica, the Spanish electricity grid operator. This is Pontegadea’s first venture into the renewable energy industry. Ortega’s Pontegadea owns a 59.3 per cent ownership in Inditex, the parent company of Zara, as well as billions of euros in prominent office and shopping districts.

In May 2021, Repsol agreed to buy 40 per cent of Hecate Energy, a Chicago-based company specializing in the development of PV solar and battery projects for energy storage. The acquisition was Repsol’s first move into the US renewables market. The company will have the option of acquiring Hecate Energy’s outstanding shares three years after this transaction closes. Hecate Energy has a portfolio of renewable projects totalling more than 40 GW. Of these, 16.8 GW are PV solar projects and energy storage associated with these assets, all at advanced stages of development.

In June 2020, Repsol announced plans to set up two industrial decarbonization projects with the participation of Spanish and international partners. The projects will be located in the port of Bilbao and its surrounding area and will attract a combined initial investment of approximately Euro 80 million. The first project, in which Euro 60 million will initially be invested, involves the development of green hydrogen production plants. For green hydrogen plants, Repsol’s partners include Petronor and the Energy Agency of the Basque Government, a public-sector leader for projects facilitating energy transition.

REGlobal’s Views: In a bid to decarbonise their operational strategies, large corporates as well as their investors are now opting for green power. While many are procuring green energy to power their facilities through corporate power purchase contracts, others are directly investing in these projects through development of new assets or acquisition of already operational ones.