Energy provider Octopus’ development arm today announced it will invest up to £10 million in new wind farms being co-developed by specialist firm Wind 2.
Octopus Renewable Investment Trust says it has already invested £2.5 million in the first of nine newly formed joint venture companies for projects. ORIT has also agreed to provide a further £7.5 million in long-term development funding over the next five to ten years.
Nine onshore sites in Scotland & Wales, together rated at approximately 570MW, stand to benefit.
ORIT’s investment, a co-investment alongside another fund managed by Octopus Renewables Ltd, gives ORIT and the Octopus Managed Fund preferential rights to fund the construction of the projects reaching ready to build stage.
With bases in Mold, north Wales, Edinburgh and the Highlands, Wind 2 is a specialist onshore developer. It was founded in 2016 by Gerry and Paula Jewson and Sarah Smith. The trio had worked together at West Coast Energy, sold to ENGIE in 2014. The Jewsons also partnered in the leadership of developers RDC.
Their team claims a track record for delivery of approximately 1GW of renewable energy, including participation in RDC Partners.
ORIT chair Phil Austin welcomed the deal.
“I am pleased to announce this partnership with Wind 2 to develop a significant amount of onshore wind farm capacity in the UK”, he said.
“This is an exciting move for ORIT which provides an opportunity to leverage the significant onshore wind development experience of the Wind 2 team and potentially generate a significant ready to build pipeline in the years to come.”
Excluded for six years, onshore wind – including in England – is back beside solar PV as potential beneficiaries in Pot 1 of AR4, the latest round of the government’s Contracts for Difference regime. Out of a total £ 285 CfD commitment, the Johnson administration earmarked in September a £10 million budget in quest of an extra 5GW across onshore wind and solar; a 3.5 GW cap restricts any single project.
Developers and generators have until 14 January to submit AR4 bids. D-BEIS stresses that updated planning guidance now governs onshore wind projects in England, “ensuring local communities are given a more effective voice on development”.
In its UK Onshore Wind prospectus published in October, trade body RenewableUK quotes the Climate Change Committee as saying 30 GW of additional land-based projects are needed by 2030, if Britain is to meet its enforceable deadline of Net Zero by 2050.