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Avangrid, Inc.

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Msg  23 of 26  at  5/2/2022 11:48:12 AM  by


Avangrid staying 'disciplined' amid solar, wind build-out challenges

from SNL Energy Finance Daily

Avangrid staying 'disciplined' amid solar, wind build-out challenges

Byline: Allison Good

Avangrid Inc. expects all of its wind and solar projects scheduled to come online in 2022 to be completed this year despite the supply chain, inflation and anti-circumvention tariff issues overshadowing the industry's macroeconomic environment, executives said.

A U.S. Commerce Department investigation into whether solar manufacturers used factories in Southeast Asia to circumvent American tariffs on imports from China has already caused widespread delays or cancellations of panel shipments. But outgoing Avangrid CEO Dennis Arriola told analysts and investors that the renewable energy giant has "nearly all of the panels" it needs for 2022 and is taking a "more prudent and disciplined approach" to power purchase agreements, or PPAs.

"We've heard that some of our competitors are entering into PPAs before completing development or arranging for supply," Arriola said during an April 27 first-quarter earnings conference call. "We will not pursue growth at any cost, but instead, we're aligning our PPA execution with supply contract certainty."

Customers are also being patient with Avangrid as the Commerce Department decides whether crystalline silicon solar cells and modules assembled in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam could be subject to the same tariffs the agency has imposed on Chinese-made components to enforce antidumping and countervailing duties.

"Everyone's kind of holding hands on this thing while waiting for a decision," Arriola said. "We've found very open-minded customers that we're working with that want to get through this period."

Similarly, for offshore wind, he continued, Avangrid does not "have pressure to immediately execute supply contracts in the current environment," though the Iberdrola SA subsidiary has seen labor rates rise.

Offshore wind turbine manufacturers like General Electric Co. and Vestas Wind Systems A/S are all struggling to make profits amid soaring raw materials prices and supply chain bottlenecks, and have signaled a shift to prioritizing profitability over market share.

Avangrid is considering adding partners to some of its installations after restructuring its joint venture with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners K/S to take full ownership of the planned 804-MW Park City offshore wind project in Connecticut and the Commonwealth Offshore Wind Project, which recently submitted a bid for up to 1,200 MW to the third Massachusetts offshore wind competitive solicitation. Massachusetts regulators still have to approve the latest contract bid.

"We've talked to people about coming in as partners, and we'll consider that. If it makes sense, we'll do that at the right time, which will also reduce our overall capital outlays," Arriola said, adding that the projects' "colocation within contiguous lease areas will add further efficiencies when we get to construction and operations."

Wells Fargo Securities in February applauded Avangrid for bowing out of the nation's highest-grossing competitive offshore energy lease sale in history off the coast of New York and New Jersey, calling it "a winning strategy." Companies that won acreage will be vulnerable to inflation due to the "fairly dramatic escalation in cost estimates," Paul Fremont, Mizuho Securities USA LLC managing director, said in a recent interview.

Still in limbo are two big investments, the New England Clean Energy Connect transmission project in Maine, and Avangrid's proposed acquisition of New Mexico utility company PNM Resources Inc. In New Mexico, there may be oral arguments later this year at the state supreme court. In Maine, Avangrid continues to tout public support for the transmission project, which would allow for the delivery of Canadian-produced hydroelectric power to Massachusetts utilities.


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