JPMorgan creates UK wind powerhouse

By combining 34 of its wind assets into newly formed Ventient Energy, the manager has created the UK’s third-largest onshore wind operator, with an installed capacity just shy of 700MW.

JPMorgan Asset Management has combined two of its portfolios to create Ventient Energy, the UK’s third-largest onshore generator and the largest non-utility owner of such assets in the country.

Ventient, which comprises 34 wind farms with an installed capacity of 690MW, was born out of the combination of two wind portfolios – Zephyr, a group of 15 wind farms bought from co-shareholder Infracapital, and 19 wind farms that were previously part of Terra Firma’s Infinis. Both were acquired this year. The portfolios are owned by JPMorgan’s open-ended Infrastructure Investment Fund, which was valued at $6.1 billion as of 31 March, according to pension documents.

The new company, which employs 44 people, is headquartered in Scotland – where the top three UK wind portfolios are based – and has plans to grow its asset base from its current operating portfolio.

“The UK onshore wind market is fragmented, and Ventient Energy owns only 6 percent of market capacity at present, so we see plenty of opportunities to grow our installed capacity through consolidation,” commented Scott Mackenzie, Ventient chief executive.

JPMorgan’s IIF – which is targeting returns between 8 percent and 12 percent and is generating a 6.6 percent net IRR over one year and 6.9 percent over five years – has around 75 percent of its portfolio invested in contracted power and regulated utilities.

In our November keynote interview, Anton Pil, managing partner of JPMorgan’s $130 billion global alternatives business, argued “the pendulum is swinging back towards core, core-plus, diversified exposures. There was a time for more opportunistic investing, but I would say for the next three-to-five years, the focus on diversified cashflow, generative, stable, total-return type investing is going to be key”.