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London, 19 February 2018 – Gresham House PLC (“Gresham House”), the specialist asset manager, today announces its infrastructure & housing investment platform, the British Strategic Investment Fund (“the Fund”), is acting as the sole outside investor in the financing of 30 megawatts (MW) of operational grid-scale energy storage assets.
The transaction is the first investment for the Fund which held a first close in 2017 with £150 million of commitments raised from institutional investors including Local Government Pension Schemes (“LGPS”).
The Fund has invested through a combination of senior cash paid loan notes and equity in a dedicated project company. The project involves 30MW of battery storage assets spread across three sites in Nottinghamshire, Bristol and Essex. Operational and technical oversight is carried out by Gresham House New Energy and Noriker Power.
Gresham House has identified a strong growth opportunity in renewables and new energy infrastructure along with the potential for additional ESG benefits by supporting the continued decarbonisation of the UK’s power generation mix. This deal is expected to form part of a more extensive Gresham House Energy Storage System portfolio. The Company has now developed 50MW that is commercially operational and providing services to the National Grid. It has a development pipeline in excess of 200MW. This would make the Company one of the largest ESS players in the UK.
As the UK’s power mix changes rapidly, the National Grid is increasingly seeking to manage frequency peaks and troughs as well as other imbalances in new ways. This can be achieved by assets such as batteries near-instantaneously absorbing or generating power to keep supply and demand for energy balanced in real time. These can be installed standalone or in conjunction with renewable energy sources such as wind or solar PV.
Ben Guest, Investment Director for BSIF, said: “We are pleased to have concluded British Strategic Investment Fund’s first investment. Energy storage is one area of the new energy sector that has significant potential from an institutional investment standpoint and is a market that will see strong growth in the coming years. Not only does it deliver a financial return from a range of short and long-term revenue streams, but it also has a positive social impact. Energy storage needs to be distributed across all regions in the UK. These projects benefit from typically low correlation to traditional asset classes, a partial link to inflation, good cash flow and significant asset backing. The British Strategic Investment Fund team has an exciting pipeline of further investments in UK Housing and Infrastructure which will be deployed in the first and second quarters of this year. We look forward to disclosing the details in due course.”
Peter Moon, Chairman of the Investment Committee for BSIF, said: “Moving forward British Strategic Investment Fund will continue to focus on generating attractive returns in a cost-effective manner from illiquid investments in infrastructure-related assets as well as UK housing. We have had excellent feedback on the Gresham House investor portal which is adding a new level of transparency to these socially beneficial projects whilst providing co-investment potential and we are actively pursuing opportunities to bring on board other LGPS’s, corporate pension funds, endowments and family offices.
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About Energy Storage
Energy Storage Systems (ESS) are ultra-responsive, utility scale batteries that store energy and release it back to the grid when there is increased demand. They can be used to store energy generated from intermittent renewable power sources such as solar panels or wind turbines so the lights stay on whatever the weather. They also support rapid-charging electric vehicle points which put stress on the current system. With households and businesses increasing pressure on the system, ESS reduce the need for costly grid updates or reinforcements.
Energy generation in the UK is undergoing fundamental change with increasing renewables penetration and a reduction in fossil fuel-based generation. According to The U.K. Renewable Energy Association, the U.K. could install up to 12 gigawatts of energy storage by 2021. The government estimates that energy storage innovation can add £12bn of new business revenue in the UK and along with ot0her new technologies could save people up to £40bn off their energy bills in the coming decades.