Green bank half way to £1bn offshore wind target

CEO Shaun Kingsbury aims to attract investors . Picture: Gordon Fraser
CEO Shaun Kingsbury aims to attract investors . Picture: Gordon Fraser
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THE Green Investment Bank (GIB) yesterday said it had raised almost half the £1 billion it is targeting for the world’s first dedicated offshore wind fund to invest in projects off the UK’s coasts.

The Edinburgh and London-based bank said £463 million in capital had been committed by investors including UK pension funds and a sovereign wealth fund in the first stage of fundraising.

The UK government-backed bank is also investing £200m in the fund, and that with fundraising continuing it expected to meet its final target.

The bank also said it had transferred its investments in two existing offshore wind farms into the fund, which will give investors an immediate cash yield.

The two wind farms are Rhyl Flats off the coast of North Wales, with 25 turbines, and 88-turbine Sheringham Shoal, off the coast of Norfolk, which between them produce enough clean energy to power 305,000 homes.

The fund, which has a pipeline of new investment opportunities in offshore wind farms, is the first raised by the GIB, its first move into asset management and the first time it has managed private capital since its formation.

The announcement comes at the end of the bank’s financial year, in which it has committed £723m to 22 green energy schemes, bringing the total number it has backed since it began operating in November 2012 to 46 projects with a total value of almost £7bn.

Projects backed across the UK in the last year range from offshore wind farms to replacing boiler systems in sheltered housing, hydropower schemes, energy from waste plants and energy efficiency investments in distilleries.

Shaun Kingsbury, chief executive of the bank, said: “Offshore wind is playing an important role in the UK’s energy infrastructure.

“By 2020 we expect it to be providing enough clean, green energy to power the electricity needs of 8.2 million homes across the UK.

“A sector this size needs a broad range of long-term investors and those investors need products they can confidently, and commercially, invest in – like this fund.”

He said the fund would mobilise capital into the offshore wind sector from new, long-term investors.

“Attracting additional capital and creating a liquid market for operating assets is an important step in reducing the cost of offshore wind and supporting the growth of the sector.

“New investors will allow the original developers to sell down their stakes and use the proceeds to finance new renewable energy projects.”

Last month, GIB said it was investing in a £111 million energy from waste project near Lanark.