Power platform gets UK pension backing

Albion Community Power has received a £10m commitment from the Greater Manchester Pension Fund and now has £70m in total.

Albion Community Power (ACP), a platform set up to fund community-scale renewable energy projects in the UK, has received a £10 million (€14.1 million; $15.6 million) commitment from Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF).

The commitment means that ACP has now raised £70 million in total on its way to a £100 million target. The UK’s Green Investment Bank (GIB) committed £50 million to the platform earlier this year, while the Strathclyde Pension Fund handed over £10 million.

ACP builds, controls and operates projects and claims to be one of the largest single sources of equity funding available for projects in the sector.

“We are excited to be joining GIB and Strathclyde Pension Fund as investors in ACP and look forward to supporting the continued expansion of community-scale renewable energy schemes across the UK,” said GMPF councillor and chair Kieran Quinn in a statement.

He added: “ACP will play a key role in this regard as the pressure to diversify beyond carbon-based energy sources becomes even greater.”

At the same time as announcing its latest fundraising success, the firm also revealed details of its latest deal – a 499-kilowatt (kW) hydropower scheme on the River Arkaig in Lochaber in the Scottish Highlands.

The £3.3 million project will generate approximately 2.3 gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable electricity per year, which is enough to provide the electricity consumption of around 550 homes. Completion of the project, in conjunction with developer Green Highland Renewables, is expected in February next year.

ACP said the deal – which brings its total amount invested or committed to £60 million – typifies its objective of creating a portfolio of small, decentralised renewable generation projects close to the sources of demand.

The firm has agreed to sell 50 percent of its electricity directly to local users through private wire arrangements, but is currently engaging with industry to see if it can sell more of its power straight to end customers.

ACP receives executive support, advice and administration services from Albion Ventures, the UK venture capital firm.