Paolo Merli, ERG’s CEO. Image: ERG.

Italian independent power producer (IPP) ERG will scale up its European PV portfolio as it aims to almost double its installed renewables capacity in the next five years.

With more than 2.5GW of onshore renewables installed to date – 2.2GW of which is wind – ERG’s new business plan involves a heightened focus on solar, which will reach 20% of its total portfolio by 2026 through the addition of around 650MW of projects in markets such as Spain, France and Italy.

The company will invest €2.8 billion (US$3.1 billion) to expand its renewables portfolio by 2026 as it bids to reach 4.6GW of capacity through geographical and technological diversification.

It is expected that around 1GW of capacity additions will come from acquisitions.

“The current context of international crisis significantly increases the sense of urgency and our personal commitment to helping reduce dependence on gas,” ERG CEO Paolo Merli said.

He added that the wind and solar expansion plan will be challenging but possible to achieve as the company already has a significant portfolio of projects under construction or at an advanced stage of development.

The company currently has 311MW of operational PV assets, spread across Italy, Spain and France. It entered Spain earlier this year with the purchase of two operational solar projects with a combined capacity of 92MW.

The new strategy will see ERG will look to further consolidate its presence in Europe by entering more countries as it aims for a total of ten markets across the continent by 2026, when half of its earnings are expected to come from outside Italy.

It is forecasted that the IPP’s annual earnings will jump 40% by 2026 to €560 million, with 85 – 90% of EBITDA guaranteed through participation in auctions or power purchase agreements.

Alongside the solar ramp up, ERG said it is exploring new opportunities in the energy storage sector, evaluating a pipeline of 150MW of projects, both in Italy and abroad. The company announced last month its entry into the energy storage sector, securing two projects totalling 22MW in an auction in Italy.

As it aims to reach net zero by 2040, the company said it is also exploring floating wind and green hydrogen.