Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG) and Enso Energy announced today that they have formed a UK solar development joint venture, with the aim of creating one of the UK’s largest subsidy-free solar and battery storage portfolios, to deliver clean energy to communities and businesses across the country.
GIG and Enso also stated that they have already developed a pipeline of projects which are currently in development and represent an initial 1 GW of capacity.
Green Investment Group is a specialist in green infrastructure principal investment, project delivery and the management of portfolio assets, and related services. It was launched by the UK Government in 2012, and acquired by Macquarie Group in 2017. Enso is a UK-based renewable energy developer, focused on solar energy.
The JV’s initial projects are grid secured and are being submitted for planning approval. The pipeline includes projects across England and Wales, where the team are currently conducting virtual community consultations to ensure that the views of these local communities can be taken into consideration during this period of required social distancing. The planned solar farms are subsidy free, and are expect to be backed by power purchase agreements (PPAs), providing predictably priced power to UK businesses while reducing their carbon footprint.
Many of the JV’s planned projects will use newly available tracking and bifacial solar technology to ensure that the energy produced per hectare is maximised thereby reducing the physical footprint of each project. Integrating battery technology into the solar farms will enable the project to provide a more flexible output, address demand during peak periods, while also providing auxiliary services and stability to the grid to facilitate increased levels of renewables on the system.
To preserve and enhance biodiversity, the project will provide a range of resources for local wildlife, and each development will include a Biodiversity Net Gain Assessment to demonstrate the benefits of each project.
According to GIG and Enso, projects like these will play an important role in helping the UK meet its commitment to end its contribution to climate change by 2050. The UK’s Committee on Climate Change has shown that meeting this target will require more renewable energy capacity. The partners noted that there are also potential economic benefits from a focus on delivering net zero, citing a recent report from Vivid Economics has shown that domestic investment in low carbon technologies could create 270,000 jobs across the UK.
The partnership has assembled a highly experienced renewable energy delivery team, with a significant track record in the UK. Enso Energy has a proven history in developing large scale energy projects, totalling in excess of 1,500MW of distributed generation. To date, Macquarie and the Green Investment Group (and its predecessor organisation, the Green Investment Bank), have supported nearly 7.5 GW of renewable projects in the UK – and are specialists in structuring and developing corporate PPAs.
Ian Harding and Andrew King, Co-founders of Enso Energy, said:
“Both Macquarie’s Green Investment Group and Enso Energy are totally committed to an ambitious programme of large-scale solar development. This partnership brings together two organisations that share the same vision, to dramatically accelerate the delivery of the benefits of low-cost solar energy to communities up and down the country.”
Ed Northam, Head of Green Investment Group Europe, added
“From our origins in the UK as the world’s first green investment bank, GIG has grown into a global green energy powerhouse while remaining steadfastly committed to accelerating the UK’s transition to a greener economy.
“The UK’s solar market holds huge potential to create green jobs and help the UK get closer to its aim of becoming a Net Zero economy. By combining GIG’s deep technical and financial capabilities with Enso’s highly experienced development team, our partnership has the skills and expertise to unlock that potential, bringing low-cost, low-carbon power to communities right across the UK.”