By Isla Binnie and Andres Gonzalez
MADRID (Reuters) - Oil major Shell and utilities Naturgy and Verbund are preparing binding bids to buy renewable energy assets in Spain valued at about 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion), three sources close to the matter told Reuters.
Spanish fund manager Q-Energy is selling the portfolio, taking advantage of strong appetite among European energy companies feeling increasing pressure from investors and governments to tackle climate change.
Competition for market share is intensifying as oil and gas companies set ambitious green targets, jostling with utilities and existing renewables businesses to lead the energy transition.
Binding bids are due by the end of April, the sources said.
Shell, Naturgy and Q-Energy declined to comment. Verbund did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mainly consisting of solar projects, the assets up for sale are scattered from near Guadalajara in central Spain down to the sunny southern coastal region of Andalucia, one of the sources said.
The winning bidder is also likely to take on a team of about 25 people to develop the assets, the sources said.
Shell has made a number of solar acquisitions and this year won licences with Iberdrola's Scottish Power to develop wind farms in the British North Sea.
Naturgy changed its name from Gas Natural in 2018 and has since set out a plan to focus on renewable energy and distribution grids. Verbund generated 90% of its electricity from renewable sources last year and has said it is looking for opportunities to increase its investment in the sector.
The portfolio being sold includes about 75 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity covered by an old subsidy regime that guarantees core earnings of roughly 60 million euros a year, one of the sources said.
It also includes development projects that will have capacity to generate about 3.6 gigawatts (GW) of electricity once construction is completed, the sources said. More than half of this has grid connection permits already.
One gigawatt of power is roughly equivalent to the average production of a nuclear power plant.
($1 = 0.9202 euros)
(Reporting by Isla Binnie and Andres Gonzalez; Editing by David Goodman)