A London-based renewable energy investor has teamed up with pension funds to buy a 49.9 per cent stake in the giant Clyde Wind Farm development in South Lanarkshire from SSE for £355 million.
Greencoat UK Wind and a joint venture formed by the Greater Manchester Pension Fund and London Pensions Fund Authority said they expect to be able to generate attractive returns from their investment in the development.
Tim Ingram, chairman of Greencoat UK Wind noted Clyde is one of the biggest onshore wind farms in the UK. The development includes three wind farms featuring 152 turbines in total, which generate enough power for more than 300,000 homes.
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The acquisition will give the investors a stake in a development that is likely to be in operation for many years. Clyde was commissioned in 2012. The output can be sold to the National Grid at fixed rates.
The wind farm will not be impacted by changes to the support regime for wind generation that were announced in 2013, which critics have said will result in some projects being scrapped.
In November Greencoat UK Wind bought the Stroupster wind farm in Caithness in an £85m deal and underlined its appetite for more deals.
The company has a portfolio of 18 wind farms in the UK, including seven in Scotland.
SSE said it sold the stake in Clyde Wind Farm under a plant to raise £1bn to cut debt by selling interests in onshore wind farms and non-core assets. The farm cost £500m to develop.
However the Perth-based utility is completing a 54 turbine extension to the Clyde Windfarm. It will have a 70 per cent interest in the enlarged plant initially.
Martin Pibworth, managing director of SSE's wholesale power generation arm said: “The sale represents another significant step in a programme of disposals to recycle capital and optimise our wind farm pipeline.”
Greencoat UK Wind will acquire 28.2 per cent of Clyde while the pension funds’ GLIL venture will acquire 21.7 per cent.