Duns energy firm secures £50 million investment

A BERWICKSHIRE energy business has secured a £50 million investment to develop dozens of small-scale wind projects across Scotland.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 29th September 2010, 4:01 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th September 2010, 4:01 pm

Duns-based wind developer e-Gen has secured the funding package from Rockfield Energy Investments LLP, the energy investment team backed by Bregal Capital.

Together they'll set up a new company - e-Gen Partners Limited - to focus on wind projects in the 500kw to 1500kw band across rural Scotland.

e-Gen's CEO, Tom Forsyth, believes the business has a unique offer for landowners and farmers across Scotland: "Our business model can deliver big benefits to farmers and landowners across rural Scotland, by adding value to their properties and boosting their incomes at no cost or risk to themselves," he explained.

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A typical e-Gen site will house one to three 55-metre hub height wind turbines. The company pays an annual ground rent to the landowner based on the number of turbines, in exchange for a 20-plus year lease of their land.

Mr Forsyth said that in terms of the number or size of turbines, e-Gen is not a typical wind farm developer. "Our sector is the community scale project for which planning consents are typically faster and less complex, and visual impact is minimal," he said. "We are using top quality turbines with lower hub heights and with only one or two turbines per site, the projects are less intrusive and more in keeping with the landscape than large windfarms.

"With the funding and support from Rockfield, we believe that it is important to move quickly in order to capture the certainty of existing feed in tariff levels, which are due for review during 2012/13."

The news of the investment came earlier this week as major financiers from around the world gathered in Edinburgh for a two-day conference in financing low-carbon technologies.

Working primarily with farmers and landowners e-Gen Partners is set to fund the development, construction and operation of hundreds of small-scale wind projects. The company has developed a sophisticated constraint mapping tool that identifies areas with high wind speeds where planning consent and grid connection is more likely. Over the past two years e-Gen has established a close network of local specialist contractors and advisers who will support the venture.

Rockfield Energy CEO Martin Pickard explained that the investment into the Duns business formed part of their strategy to establish 'buy and build' portfolios of renewable assets in the UK: "We are impressed by e-Gen's approach to developing small wind projects and their team of specialist contractors and advisors," he said. "We're pleased to be supporting the company to bring the benefits of renewable energy to hundreds of landowners and local communities through small scale schemes."

Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, added: "A model that takes the risk away from landowners and farmers but gives them a guaranteed annual return, will no doubt be attractive to many."