The government, in the form of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), is investing around £50 million in six wind farms (five onshore and one offshore) through taking a stake in renewable energy fund Greencoat UK Wind which launched last month. Some of the farms are being bought outright, while others involve a stake of less than 50% being purchased from two of the big six energy companies, RWE and SSE.
The government needs more than £100bn to be invested in wind and other green power sources by 2020 if it is to get near its targets for reducing carbon emissions. Justifying the surprising move, BIS has suggested that the government needed to act as a ‘catalyst’ to draw in key institutional and private investors.
Greencoat UK Wind is an infrastructure fund that has just announced plans to float on the London Stock Exchange. It is seeking to raise £205m and has already been backed by BIS (£50 million) and SSE (£43 million) itself.
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