Macquarie’s Green Investment Group to develop 1GW solar and battery portfolio

The Green Investment Group, once owned by the UK Government and now owned by Australia’s Macquarie Group, will partner with UK renewable energy developer Enso Energy to build a pipeline of solar and battery projects across the UK which will start with an initial 1GW of subsidy-free solar capacity.

Launched by the UK Government in 2012 as the Green Investment Bank, but purchased by Macquarie in 2017 and combined with Macquarie Capital’s renewables team, the Green Investment Group (GIG) is one of the world’s largest teams of specialist green infrastructure developers and investors.

The two companies say the joint venture was established with the aim to create one of the UK’s largest subsidy-free solar and battery storage portfolios, which will deliver clean energy to communities and businesses across the country.”

The new JV will start out by using newly available solar tracking and bifacial solar technology which will serve to ensure that the electricity produced per hectare is maximised, which in turn will reduce the physical footprint of each project, the partners say.

With initial projects already grid secured and being submitted for planning approval, GIG and Enso are already conducting virtual community consultations to ensure that the views of the relevant local communities are being taken into consideration.

The existing pipeline of in-development projects are spread across England and Wales, and are backed by Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) which will provide predictably priced power to UK businesses while, in turn, helping to reduce their carbon footprint.

“Both Macquarie’s Green Investment Group and Enso Energy are totally committed to an ambitious programme of large-scale solar development,” said Ian Harding and Andrew King, co-founders of Enso Energy[1]. “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”

“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,” added Edward Northam, Head of Green Investment Group Europe[2].

“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.”

An April report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance[3] showed that solar PV and onshore wind are now the cheapest sources of new-build electricity generation for at least two-thirds of the global population, while battery storage is now the cheapest new-build technology for peaking purposes in gas importing regions such as Europe, China, or Japan.

Another important aspect of the new pipeline of projects is the priority on significantly enhancing the biodiversity of each site through the provision of a range of resources for local wildlife. Specifically, the new JV will provide each development with a Biodiversity Net Gain Assessment to demonstrate the benefits of each project.

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