The press release on the project emphasized the word “greenfield.” What is this, and why is it significant?
Greenfield denotes a project that begins from nothing, for example, where there is no prior infrastructure or buildings. We started developing NeuConnect in 2017 when it didn’t even exist on paper, let alone having cable infrastructure.
Getting involved in renewable greenfield projects is relatively new for Allianz. We invested in our first wind park in 2005 in Francofonte, Italy, and have been steadily expanding our renewables portfolio ever since. We are currently invested , plus the United Kingdom and United States, which amounts to approximately 3.5 GW of energy.
However, we have tended to invest in operational wind farms and solar parks. Allianz as a Group now has the experience and knowledge to become more involved earlier in the process and so is investing in the development or construction phase of the assets to have an even larger impact when it comes to the energy transition.
For example, historically, Allianz has also avoided offshore wind due to the additional risk compared to onshore wind. But late last year, Allianz Capital Partners signed an agreement to purchase a 25% stake in the Hollandse Kust Zuid (HKZ) windfarm. The project is in the North Sea, offshore of the Netherlands. When fully operational, HKZ will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world, with 140 wind turbines and a total installed capacity of 1.5 GW.
HKZ was the first offshore wind farm and first equity renewables investment of Allianz in the Netherlands. Allianz invested because we now see offshore wind as a mature technology with a substantial track record and because it is critical that capital becomes more invested in decarbonization.
We expect continuous global growth in energy demand to offer significant investment opportunities. Allianz intends to seize these opportunities and to play an important role in the energy transition.