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HgCapital sells wind power portfolio to Blue Energy

Renewables-focused investment group HgCapital has sold its 177MW wind portfolio, including the developer RidgeWind, to UK renewables investor Blue Energy, for a sum of £250 million.

Founded in 2003, RidgeWind is an independent onshore wind farm developer with a portfolio of 45MW of projects in late stage construction, 132MW with planning permission, and a significant development pipeline.

As part of the transaction, the RidgeWind team will be integrated into Blue Energy, and development of RidgeWind’s existing projects will continue uninterrupted, with new projects set to be developed under the Blue Energy banner.

The company already has 9.7MW of UK wind farms in development, but the acquisition of RidgeWind marks a step change in its onshore wind development and investment programme, Cheshire-based Blue Energy said.

Following on from the deal, the company plans “further significant” onshore wind acquisitions in 2013. “This transaction is an important milestone for the growth of Blue Energy and demonstrates our strong commitment to the UK onshore wind sector,” said Blue Energy CEO Chris Dean. “Blue Energy has ambitious growth plans and we aim to progress further transactions of a similar nature in the UK wind sector this year.”

He added: “RidgeWind gives us a strong portfolio, and an experienced development team who have pioneered innovative community benefit schemes, which are so important in winning local support for wind farms."

Blue Energy’s other investments include the 5MW Westmill solar farm, as well as recently announced plans to build a 155MW solar PV plant in Ghana.

HgCapital acquired RidgeWind in 2007, and grew the company’s portfolio from one permitted 16MW site to six permitted sites of 177MW in total. According to HgCapital, the company also pioneered new methods of sharing wind farm benefits with local communities, including providing electricity funds for area residents and university scholarships for local students.

Tom Murley, head of HgCapital’s renewable energy team, said: “In RidgeWind we saw the core elements of value creation: a strong team with a focus on larger sites with the best wind resources and the ability to create and manage an industrial scale UK wind business. RidgeWind has delivered on that promise and we are confident that under Blue Energy’s ownership the company will continue to deliver.”

Two RidgeWind projects are about to become operational: Hall Farm, a 24.6MW wind farm near Beverley, in Yorkshire, is expected to commence generation next week and the 20.5MW Wandylaw farm, north of Alnwick, Northumberland, is due to complete and commence generation in March.

RidgeWind also has planning permission for four more wind farms: Beinneun, an 85MW project near Invergarry, Invernessshire; Middlewick, 20.7MW near Southminster, Essex; Nutsgrove, 14.35MW near Peterborough; and Grange, 12.3MW near Scunthorpe, Lincs.

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