Macquarie offloads 20 bioenergy assets from GIB portfolio

The Bioenergy Infrastructure Group has acquired the facilities, which have a combined capacity of more than 70MW.

A planned sale of some of the UK Green Investment Bank’s assets has begun after 20 bioenergy projects with a combined capacity of more than 70MW were offloaded by new owners Macquarie.

A total of four biomass and waste-to-energy facilities, 15 anaerobic digestion plants and a materials recovery facility were sold to the Bioenergy Infrastructure Group, a platform established in 2015 which is 70 percent owned by Infracapital and supported by Aurium Capital Markets, Foresight Group and the Israel-based Helios Fund.

The portfolio covers a range of asset sizes from 200kW to 20MW, some of which are operational while others are in late-stage construction. The BIG said the deal ensures it “owns one of the largest portfolios of biomass and [waste-to-energy] facilities in the UK, with capacity slated at more than 115MW.

The platform wants to more than double its assets over the next five years and is examining a pipeline of a further 200MW. Additional investment will be supported “by a comprehensive capital-raising programme,” it stated.

“Rising demand for electricity from industry and consumers and the need to treat waste in an environmentally sustainable manner reinforces the importance of investing in biomass and [waste-to-energy] technologies,” said Hamish McPherson, chief executive of BIG. “Over the long term, these facilities will be vital to lighting and heating homes, treating waste, and supporting near-future innovations, such as driverless and electric cars.”

The projects are the first to be sold from the GIB portfolio after Macquarie completed its £2.3 billion ($2.9 billion; €2.7 billion) deal last week, subsequently renaming the vehicle as the Green Investment Group.

After the transaction was first agreed in April, Mark Dooley, Macquarie’s European head of infrastructure, utilities and renewables, said about £230 million of assets will be sold, including those in the waste-to-energy sectors, in which the GIB’s “job has been done”. The firms declined to comment on the size of the latest deal.

The GIB invested £667.4 million in waste and bioenergy projects during its period as a public body between 2012 and 2016. Offshore wind was the only renewables asset class to receive more investment from the GIB.