Octopus Renewables acquires two operational UK biomass plants with combined capacity of 85.7MW

Octopus Renewables, the specialist clean energy investor arm of Octopus Group, has announced the acquisition of two operational UK biomass power plants, with a combined capacity of 85.7MW, from a joint venture by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor (BWSC), in one of the largest deals of its kind in the UK.

The two plants, located in Brigg, North Lincolnshire and Snetterton, East Anglia, have been acquired with investment provided by funds managed by Octopus, one of which includes a recently announced fund cornerstoned by UK workplace pension provider Nest. 

Both facilities at Brigg (40.8MW) and Snetterton (44.9MW) are fuelled by a mixture of locally sourced biomass feedstocks. Octopus will manage both sites, adding to the five biomass plants that it currently manages across the UK.

Octopus Renewables is the largest investor of utility scale solar power in Europe, as well as a leading investor in onshore wind and biomass, managing a global portfolio valued at more than GBP3 billion.

Peter Dias, Investment Director at Octopus Renewables, says: “We’re delighted to grow our portfolio of biomass power with these two plants – marking one of the largest deals of its kind in the UK. As one of the UK’s leading specialist investors in energy generation, we view biomass as playing a crucial role in diversifying the UK’s energy mix and supporting the UK farming industry through the sourcing of feedstock fuels. 

“The acquisition marks a significant step for our fund that has Nest as a cornerstone investor. The fund benefits from a healthy pipeline that will help target strong and stable returns. We see institutions and pension funds as playing a vital role in hastening the energy transition and helping to unleash pent up capital to fight climate change.”

Stephen O’Neill, Head of Private Markets at Nest, adds: “We’re delighted to have our account with Octopus Renewables up and running, investing our members’ money into something that should provide steady returns for years to come.

“Biomass is an exciting technology and energy crops, such as miscanthus, could play a significant role in the UK hitting its carbon emission targets. We want to continue investing in the energy of the future and looking ahead for what opportunities will be presented in the drive to the low-carbon economy.”

Christina Grumstrup Sørensen, Senior Partner at Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, adds: “We are pleased to announce that following a successful development, construction and operation of the two renewable power plants, Brigg and Snetterton, together with our industrial partner, BWSC, we and BWSC have jointly divested the 100 per cent ownership of Brigg and Snetterton to two funds managed by Octopus Renewables. CIP has been pleased with the cooperation with all our partners on these two renewable power plants. We would like to congratulate the new owners on the successful acquisition of these great projects.”

Nikolaj Holmer Nissen, CEO at BWSC, adds: “BWSC is pleased with the divestment of the Brigg and Snetterton plants after our active involvement in both the development and successful construction of the two plants. We look very much forward to continue the good cooperation with Octopus Renewables as the new owner and BWSC as the Operation & Maintenance contractor”.

Rothschild & Co acted as the financial advisor and Herbert Smith Freehills as the legal advisor to Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners on the sale of the assets, while Burgess Salmon was the legal advisor for Octopus on the deal, and EY provided tax structuring advice.

Also part of Octopus Group is the fast-growth green energy company Octopus Energy, which supplies over two million households across the UK. In March, Octopus Energy announced its intention to acquire sister company Octopus Renewables, in a move designed to help deliver a cheaper, faster energy transition through technology.