Ventient Energy swells portfolio with raft of European sites

MSP Paul Wheelhouse (left) with Ventient Energy chief Mark Jones at the firm's new Edinburgh head office. Picture: Jon Savage
MSP Paul Wheelhouse (left) with Ventient Energy chief Mark Jones at the firm's new Edinburgh head office. Picture: Jon Savage
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Wind farm owner Ventient Energy has announced it has taken a major stake in a one gigawatt wind generation portfolio in mainland Europe, kick-starting its international expansion on the same day it unveiled new headquarters in Edinburgh.

The firm now co-owns and manages 56 wind generation projects across Spain, Portugal, France and Belgium, in addition to its 34 UK sites.

EFG Hermes’s Vortex platform announced the sale of the 49 per cent stake in the 998 megawatt portfolio late last year, with the buyer at that time referenced solely as an “institutional investor advised by JP Morgan Asset Management”.

It has now emerged that the Edinburgh firm, which is JP Morgan’s European wind energy platform, has acquired the share and will manage the assets from its flagship office in the Scottish capital.

The portfolio is co-owned with Portuguese renewable energy multinational EDP Renewables.

The new additions form part of Ventient’s longer-term expansion strategy and underscore its ambition to “grow significantly in the years ahead”, said the firm.

It is also anticipating a recruitment drive in the near future, announcing plans to boost its current team of more than 40 staff in Scotland.

The firm will continue to operate its UK portfolio alongside the projected international growth. This currently comprises nearly 690 megawatts of installed capacity at 34 wind farms, many of which are in Scotland, including the Farr project near Inverness which has capacity to power 20 per cent of Highland homes.

The wind farm operator is backed by a wide group of pension funds, including Scottish public sector funds, which together represent more than 25 million families.

It was formed in 2017 after the Infinis wind portfolio was acquired from Terra Firma by institutional investors advised by JP Morgan Asset Management.

Ventient Energy chief executive Mark Jones, who was appointed earlier this year to spearhead the firm’s growth strategy, said: “Ventient Energy is already one of the UK’s biggest onshore wind owner-operators. Through this ground-breaking step into continental Europe with one of the world’s primary renewable energy groups, we are embarking on the first of our significant growth steps we see ahead of us.

“Our new Edinburgh headquarters are the ideal base to drive this expansion and to deliver stable, long-term return for the funds which support us. We will be looking to grow the team in the months ahead.”

Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse, who officially launched the firm’s Edinburgh head office yesterday, described the European acquisition as a “vote of confidence in the future of onshore wind”.

Jones added: “We are delighted that Mr Wheelhouse has opened our new offices and we look forward to working closely with the Scottish Government to help deliver sustainable growth in the UK onshore wind sector in the years ahead.”

Onshore wind had an operational capacity of more than 7.7 gigawatts in Scotland at the start of 2019.