THE UK’s Green Investment Bank (GIB) said yesterday that it has raised £355 million from investors including Strathclyde Pension Fund to plough into offshore wind projects.
The Edinburgh-based bank said the fundraising makes its offshore wind fund the largest renewable energy fund in the UK, at £818m.
Investors in the second close also included Swedish life insurance and pension company AMF, following £463m raised earlier this year.
The UK government-backed bank, launched in 2012 with £3.8 billion of taxpayer funding, said: “The fund is the first to be dedicated solely to investments in offshore wind power generation globally and provides long-term institutional investors with the opportunity to access the UK’s green infrastructure sector.”
Amber Rudd, the UK energy and climate change secretary, said she welcomed this “long-term, private-sector involvement”. She added: “This demonstrates how we are open for business and the best place in the world to invest in offshore wind.”
Karl Smith, fund managing director at the green lender, also praised the latest investment, stating: “This second successful round of fundraising highlights the growing confidence that home-grown and international investors have in well-developed and well-managed offshore wind assets in the UK.
“We are in advanced discussions with other potential investors and progressing quickly towards final close and reaching our £1bn target.”
GIB chief executive Shaun Kingsbury said: “We are delighted to be working with investors of the calibre of AMF and Strathclyde Pension Fund, each of whom are leading the way in their recognition of the business value of investments in green infrastructure. This is a great way to put infrastructure money to work in the UK, the world’s leading market for offshore wind.”
Councillor Paul Rooney, chair of the Strathclyde Pension Fund, said its investment in the fund marks its biggest investment to date in UK green infrastructure in the UK. “We are confident it is one that will deliver not only sustainable and secure energy infrastructure for the future of our communities, but a sustainable and secure future for our members who are saving for retirement,” he said.
Lindsay Roberts, senior policy manager for Scottish Renewables, said news of the latest investments marks a “real coming of age for the UK’s offshore wind industry”.
The bank also said the fund is buying a 10 per cent stake in the 576-megawatt Gwynt y Môr operating offshore 160-turbine wind farm off the coast of Wales, with the deal expected to complete by the end of this month.