Baltic-based heat network operator Gren is entering the UK market, buying eleven energy assets including CHP stations from investment managers & developers Equitix.
Seven UK biomass plants, three CHP sites, and an energy-from-waste facility make up the deal. No price was divulged.
Gren sees the purchase as its springboard into UK district heating, whose networks it sees as among Europe’s fastest growing.
Managed networks, replacing individual boilers in homes and premises, are a mainstay of heat consumption in Scandinavia and northern Europe.
Gren already runs approximately 600 kilometres of pipelines under cities in Finland, Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania, warming nearly 180,000 homes and 600 commercial premises.
District heating lingers as a Cinderella here, however, heating only 2% of UK buildings. Bristol – pictured – last year bought in Vattenfall to revive the city’s ambitions by extending two existing networks to seven by 2027.
Last year the Climate Change Committee recommended that networks’ contribution of total UK heat demand should rise to 18% by 2050, if Net Zero targets are to be met.
Continuing government grant schemes set up to raise pipelines’ profile include the Green Heat Network Fund and the Heat Network Efficiency Scheme, scheduled to enter its third round next year. A procurement database monitors developers’ applications to lay more pipes.
Jeremy Hunt’s spring budget included a £380 million package earmarked to underpin tariffs to customers for heat or power supplied over networks.
Gren says locally sourced fuels, mainly biomass and waste, power its existing networks, producing heat and baseload electricity to the local grid. Its new UK assets will follow the same route.
The operator changed ownership itself in 2021, following a buy-out by Partners Group, a global private equity firm, acting on behalf of its clients.
The acquirors’ CEO Ilkka Niiranen said “The UK energy market is expected to go through a period of unprecedented change, and we want to be in its vanguard.
“Gren intends to become one of the leading Northern European energy companies, investing in infrastructure, driving decarbonisation, and contributing positively to the societies around us”.