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Boralex | Heading for the United States



Running a business is first and foremost a matter of strategy. Leaders reveal some elements of their game plan and vision.

The year that has just ended has been eventful for Boralex. The company, nearly half of whose activities are in France, found itself at the heart of the energy crisis that has shaken the continent since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

This is not the first crisis that Boralex is going through and it is not the worst, relativizes its president and chief executive officer, Patrick Decostre.

“We have had crises. We have seen government reversals, the 2008 financial crisis, the COVID-19 crisis, the Enron crisis in 2001.

“The financial crisis in 2008 was much worse for a company like ours, which was smaller, with capital needs and a ‘credit crunch'”, he recalls during an interview with The Press.

In fact, the energy crisis is shaking Europe very hard right now, but it is actually a global crisis, according to him. “Our societies consume more and more energy, and it is clear that we can no longer invest in coal or gas power plants for the next 30 or 40 years,” he explains. It’s a real paradigm shift. »

For a company like Boralex, which has been working for 30 years to develop renewable energy projects, the current context is therefore favourable, but also unpredictable.

In France, for example, the government’s decision to impose a cap on the price of electricity to relieve consumers retroactively deprives the company of a large part of the profits it should have made with the increase of the price of energy.

The loss could be considerable. Boralex recorded a provision of 57 million in this regard in its third quarter results, a provision which could be increased at the end of the last quarter of its fiscal year.

“It’s a decision [du gouvernement français] in the short term, which applies for 2022 and 2023, but at some point, we will have to get out of it, ”says Patrick Decostre.

The boss of Boralex has informed the French government that this kind of decision jeopardizes private investment in renewable energies and the decarbonization of France. “I’m not losing hope, but in the short term, it’s an important topic of discussion with the French government,” he said.

This unpleasant surprise does not call into question Boralex’s choices to focus its efforts on Western Europe, the northeastern United States, Ontario and Quebec.

“There is no doubt that there is still a lot of growth in Europe for Boralex,” says its big boss, but he hopes that future government decisions will not jeopardize the development of renewable energies.

“There is not enough production of wind turbines and solar panels in the world to meet demand, he justifies. Investors will go where monetary conditions are most attractive. »

other options

Boralex’s potential market has never been so attractive, according to its president. The company, which took its first steps in a niche market, is now a player that counts in a boiling market. “We said so in 2010. When the solar market reaches ‘grid parity’ in California and southern Italy, things will explode around the world. And that’s exactly what happened. »

For Boralex, this means that there are now more options available. The main one is without a doubt the American plan for massive investment in the development of renewable energies, known as the “Inflation Reduction Act”.

With government financial support of some $370 billion, the US market is about to unfold. “It’s very favorable for Boralex,” rejoices its president.

This is also the opinion of several financial analysts. Those of Desjardins believe that it is the title that could perform best in 2023 in the renewable energy sector.

The company also ended 2022 with a major acquisition in the United States, namely the purchase of the giant EDF’s stake in five wind farms in Texas and New Mexico. The C$339 million transaction adds 447 megawatts to its total generating capacity.

Boralex was originally a division of the Cascades group, a tightly knit family business that gave it a life of its own and sold its last shares to the Caisse de depot et placement in 2017. Patrick Decostre was the first employee hired by Boralex in France, 21 years ago. He became President and Chief Executive Officer two years ago, taking over from Patrick Lemaire, the last leader from the founding family of Cascades.

The company has just set up a new structure to be able to take better advantage of the new global energy context. “To have more autonomous and more agile business units”, specifies Patrick Decostre.

Another change is that the company has teamed up with a Swiss financial partner, EIP, which has taken a 30% share in its present and future activities.

War and peace

The renewable energy sector is moving from a subsidized market to an economically viable market. This passage is not jeopardized by what is happening in Europe, which is investing in LNG terminals to ensure its energy security, according to the president of Boralex.

“In the short term, there may be LNG terminals, he agrees. We are forced to take short-term measures because we have waited too long. But the way out of gas is not to import more gas. »

Patrick Decostre is convinced that the conclusion to be drawn from the current crisis is to accelerate the development of locally produced energy.

This is what we do in Europe, the United States and also in Quebec, he underlines.

“We see it with Hydro-Québec, which produces 200 terawatt hours today and which will need 300 terawatt hours. It’s major. Solar and wind power can deploy the fastest. They are also the cheapest. It’s the same calculation everywhere. »

For its part, Boralex has calculated that it will double its size between 2020 and 2025 and that it will be able to increase its corporate financing by obtaining a credit rating of at least BBB-, which is called “investment grade”. .

Boralex in brief

Headquarters: Kingsey Falls

Number of employees: 600

Market capitalization: 4 billion

Installed power: 2956 megawatts

Wind: 83%

Solar: 10%

Hydroelectric: 7%

Geographical distribution

France: 44%

Canada: 44%

United States: 12%


The experience. There aren’t many companies that have more than 30 years of experience in renewable energy.

The meaning of partnership. Over the years, Boralex has forged partnerships with the communities in which it operates, formed a joint venture with Énergir and recently teamed up with a Swiss investor.

Expertise. Boralex is not everywhere, but knows how the markets in which it operates are well known.


Financial resources. The company does not have the financial means of the giants of the energy sector, which is a constraint in a capital-intensive industry.

Uncertainty in Europe. The energy crisis in Europe is a major source of uncertainty for Boralex, due to its significant presence in France.

Increased competition

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