Albion Community Power appoints new chairman

Volker Beckers, ex-CEO of RWE Npower, will join ACP shortly after the renewables company’s fundraising efforts reached their first milestone.

Albion Ventures, a UK venture capital firm, has appointed Volker Beckers as chairman of its renewable energy business Albion Community Power. 
Beckers has operational experience in the renewable power sector, having served as chief executive of UK-listed RWE Npower between 2010 and 2012 and as its chief financial officer from 2003 to 2009. He is also a member of King’s College London’s advisory board at the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security as well as a non-executive director of HM Revenue & Customs and Elexon Limited. 
Beckers joins ACP as the company forges on with its fundraising efforts, having approached its £100 million (€120 million; $162 million) target by reaching a first close this summer. The company declined to confirm the first closing amount, but said it was above the target it had originally set for the milestone. 
Launched by Albion in June 2013, ACP aims to become a community-scale renewable energy business capable of generating enough power for 35,000 UK homes. Its objective is to invest in a range of projects including brownfield wind, solar, hydroelectricity, biogas and biomass. 
A spokesperson for ACP told Infrastructure Investor that the company already had a pipeline of deals representing more than £100 million worth of projects, with the first investments likely to be made in wind and solar. These are expected to be completed by the end of November, the person said. 
Albion Ventures, formed in 2009 through the spin-out of Close Brothers’ former venture capital arm, has been ramping up its exposure to renewable energy in recent years. Having increased its target allocation to renewables from 5 to 15 percent in September 2011, the firm made its first investment in wind the same month. It also sealed its first hydroelectricity deal last year. 
Albion Community Power, which targets a long-term total return of 6 percent, seeks to raise money from retail investors and family offices. It is managed by David Gudgin, head of renewables at Albion Ventures.