UK's offshore wind fund attracting huge investment

02 April 2015

The UK has established a fund to funnel investment exclusively in the offshore industry.

The fund was a product of the Green Investment Bank (GIB), which launched in 2013 and was wholly-owned by the UK government. According to the GIB, it was the world's first fund dedicated to investments in power generation from offshore wind. If it reached its target of 1 billion ($1.8 billion), it would also be the largest renewables fund in the country.

The bank, on 1 April announced that the fund had raised 463 million ($684 million) since the opening of investments in the summer of 2014, with investments coming from pension funds and an unnamed sovereign wealth fund.

According to the UK trade press' speculation, the unnamed sovereign wealth fund was the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) - the second-largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, which derived most of its revenue from the oil industry.

If the investment had come from ADIA, it was another example of money from fossil fuels pouring into green investments, as had been the case with Norway's huge oil fund, the largest in the world, and an investor in green technologies and forest preservation.

The UK government-backed bank was also investing 200 million in the fund, managed by its subsidiary the UK Green Investment Bank Financial Services Ltd.

It had transferred its investments in two existing offshore wind farms into the fund, which would give investors an immediate cash yield.

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

The fund, which had a pipeline of new investment opportunities in offshore wind farms, was raised by the Green Investment Bank, in a bid to move into asset management and the first instance of it managing private capital since its formation.

The announcement comes at the end of the bank's financial year, in which the Green Investment Bank had committed 723 million to 22 green energy schemes, taking the total number it had backed since it began operating in November 2012 to 46 projects with a total value of almost 7 billion.

The projects backed by the fund in the UK last year, ranged from offshore wind farms to boiler systems replacements in sheltered housing, hydropower schemes, energy from waste plants and energy efficiency investments in distilleries.



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