(Adds planned divestment, EDPR considering capital increase)
LISBON, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Portugal’s largest utility EDP announced plans to invest an unprecedented 24 billion euros ($29 billion) over five years mostly in renewable power and grids in the United States and Europe as it seeks to accelerate by 20 years its push to go “completely green”.
In its strategic plan through 2025, EDP said on Thursday it would increase average annual investment to about 4.8 billion euros from 2.95 billion last year, while maintaining a “solid balance sheet and low-risk profile”.
To partly finance the plan, its subsidiary EDP Renewables is considering a capital increase to raise between 1.5 billion and 2 billion euros from institutional investors, EDP said. It added that it would maintain a stake of more than 70% in the subsidiary versus the current 82.6% .
EDP expects its free cash flow to fund the bulk of the investment. It also plans to divest 1 billion euros worth of assets, namely in Brazil, where its largest shareholder China Three Gorges has a pre-emptive right to buy any assets.
Shares in the utility were up 2.2% in afternoon trading, while EDPR was up 1.2%.
EDP said it wants to abandon coal-fired power generation by 2025 and go “completely green” by 2030, reaching carbon neutrality 20 years earlier than its previous goal.
That means adding 50 GW in clean energy by 2030, going from the current share of renewable sources in the overall output of 74% to 100% at the end of the decade.
Chief Executive Miguel Stilwell de Andrade said in a statement “this plan is a bold and ambitious commitment and an unprecedented acceleration of growth in renewables building on our strong track record”.
EDP said 80% of the planned investment will be in renewable energies, through various technologies - wind, solar, green hydrogen and energy storage - with the development of 4GW per year and doubling the company’s solar and wind capacity by 2025.
The company said it will accelerate its investment in renewable energy in Europe and North America - each region will absorb 40% of the investment.
It said 15% of the planned investment will be used in developing grids and the remaining 5% in solutions for customers and energy management.
$1 = 0.8199 euros Reporting by Sergio Goncalves, editing by Andrei Khalip and Emelia Sithole-Matarise
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