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May 27, 2021updated 16 Nov 2021 11:02am

Uniper explores divestment of Russian power plants

Uniper is weighing the sale of its Russian power plants, which meet around 4% of the country’s total energy requirement.

By Umesh Ellichipuram

German energy company Uniper is reportedly considering divesting its Russian power facilities and has held discussions with Russia-based energy holding company InterRAO.

Uniper’s Russian unit, Unipro, currently operates 11.2GW of lignite, hard coal and gas-fired power plants in Russia.

These plants meet around 4% of Russia’s total energy requirement.

Uniper holds an 83.7% stake in Unipro, valued at RUR151bn ($2.05bn) based on the present share price.

Insiders said that Uniper is expecting higher valuations after its 800MW lignite-fired power plant, Berezovskaya Three, resumed operations recently.

The plant had been inactive following years of repair work due to a fire accident in 2016.

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Although Berezovskaya Three has restarted operations, its carbon footprint no longer fits with Uniper’s long-term strategy for achieving carbon neutrality.

Uniper is also believed to be holding talks with other potential buyers.

A source was quoted by Reuters as saying: “The question is not whether a deal will happen, but when.”

The source did not disclose which assets would be put up for sale if a deal were to be done.

An InterRAO spokesman told the news agency: “We are considering various options, both in the power sector and related industries.”

Uniper plans to spend RUR1tn ($13.6bn) on its expansion plans by 2030.

The spokesman added: “The key factors for us are achieving strategic goals, increasing of the value of InterRAO Group and energy efficiency, as well as synergy with the current assets.”

Earlier this month, Pattern Energy signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Uniper for its 1,050MW Western Spirit Wind project in New Mexico.

Under the PPA, Pattern Energy will supply 219,000MWh of wind energy to Uniper for a 15-year period, enough to power more than 20,000 homes a year.

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