Edinburgh clean energy venture with global aims backed with £24m of SSE cash

A clean energy company has been launched in Edinburgh with £24 million of backing from power giant SSE.

Renewco Power has been formed by a team of energy sector entrepreneurs and aims to accelerate the development of clean energy projects. It will have a focus on the roll-out of large-scale solar and wind farms across the UK and Europe.

The new venture is targeting the development of assets with a capacity of more than four gigawatts (GW) within five years. This would be equivalent to powering some two million households with clean energy.

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Renewco is backed by a £24m investment from FTSE 100 company SSE via Corran Capital. Perth-headquartered SSE’s financial contribution will enable the business to accelerate the implementation of the team’s ambitious growth strategy.

Gavin McCallum, Renewco Power CEO, and Gary Le Sueur, chairman. Picture: Chris WattGavin McCallum, Renewco Power CEO, and Gary Le Sueur, chairman. Picture: Chris Watt
Gavin McCallum, Renewco Power CEO, and Gary Le Sueur, chairman. Picture: Chris Watt

The firm’s founders include two of Europe’s most successful renewable power entrepreneurs - Frans van den Heuvel, former chief executive of Solarcentury, and Alan Baker, former boss of Airtricity-Scotland and Forsa Energy.

The team is being led by chief executive Gavin McCallum, who has a background in private equity and the energy sector including at BP Alternative Energy.

Alp Karli, founder of solar power business Value Renewables, and previously of Vestas, takes up the role of chief commercial officer, while Romain Keyen, formerly of Scottish Equity Partners (SEP), becomes chief investment officer.

The founders are said to have more than 100 years of combined renewables development and investment experience, having successfully developed more than 10GW of renewables in around 50 countries, raising more than £2 billion to finance these assets in the process.

The team was brought together by Gary Le Sueur, a former partner of SEP, who recently founded Corran Capital in Edinburgh to invest in clean energy and climate focused companies. Le Sueur will chair Renewco and will be joined on the board by Derrick Allan, head of SGN Smart, the smart meter service provider, and former chairman of Solarcentury.

McCallum said: “There is a growing and urgent demand for utility-scale renewables projects across Europe, and we are excited about the potential we see for Renewco.”

He added: “Renewco has a unique blend of entrepreneurial talent with deep power sector and financial expertise which we will use to accelerate new developments across Europe. We will be growing our team over the coming months, adding further commercial expertise to accelerate the delivery of our strategy.”

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Martin Pibworth, SSE Group energy and commercial director: said: ”Renewco has a first class management team and this financial investment is one we expect to generate strong returns.

“We see this as a complementary investment to SSE’s own core renewables and distributed energy businesses and look forward to seeing Renewco deliver their ambitious plans.”

SSE is a principal partner of the COP26 global climate summit in Glasgow in November.

Earlier this week, SSE stressed it had taken "no decision" to break up the company following weekend reports suggesting that a split was on the cards.

In a stock market announcement, the group said it would update shareholders on its future plans in November, but stopped short of denying that a split was potentially on the cards.

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Perth energy giant SSE plays down talk of imminent break-up

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