Macquarie buys $1.77 billion stake in mammoth UK offshore wind farm

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Macquarie set to acquire a ‘substantial’ stake in huge off-shore wind farm in the UK, in a deal worth a reported A$1.8 billion.

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Australia’s Macquarie Bank has secured a £1 billion ($A1.77 billion) deal to acquire a stake in what is set to become one of the UK’s largest offshore wind farms, UK media reports.

Scarce information about the deal is currently available, with initial reports coming from the UK’s Financial Times, but it appears that Macquarie will acquire just short of a controlling stake of the mammoth 714MW East Anglia ONE development, currently under construction off the UK’s east coast.

The “significant minority stake” has been sold by Spanish energy utility Iberdrola, through its British subsidiary ScottishPower, and is worth an estimated £1 billion (A$1.77 billion).

The project will consist of 102 of Siemen’s massive 7MW Gamesa wind turbines, which will be installed 45 kilometres off the cost of the English coastal town of Lowestoft.

Once completed, the project is expected to generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of up to 600,000 British homes.

The share in the East Anglia ONE project will be acquired by Macquarie’s green investment subsidiary, the Green Investment Group, which was previously owned by the UK Government.

The East Anglia ONE project is intended to serve as the first of up to six offshore wind farms in the region, with a potential combined capacity of 7,200MW if all of the stages are completed, representing one of the largest potential renewable energy developments in the world.

The Green Investment Group was established by the UK Government in 2012, and serves a similar role to the Australian Clean Energy Finance Corporation. It was privatised in 2017 when the fund was sold to Macquarie Group for £2.3 billion (A$4.08 billion).

It will potentially be Macquarie’s second major acquisition in the offshore wind energy market, following an announcement last week that a European arm of the bank had acquired Ocean Breeze Energy, the owner of the 400MW BARD 1 Offshore wind farm in Germany.

Subsidiary Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) gained control of the wind farm, built off the coast of North-western Germany, which was completed at a cost of €$1 Billion (A$1.65 billion)

“Offshore wind is playing a significant role in Germany’s ambitious Energiewende,” head of MIRA EMEA Leigh Harrison said at the time.

“We look forward to supporting the country’s transition to increasingly clean energy resources through our investment in BARD Offshore 1 – leveraging our extensive green energy experience to ensure it remains a source of sustainable and clean electricity for German households and industry.”

The Financial Times reports that the East Anglia ONE deal is expected to be formally announced early this week.

While Macquarie has been cautious in building its presence in the Australian renewable energy market, it has been more ambitious in its expansion into the international market.

The banking giant has recently acquired significant stakes in a portfolio of Mexican solar projects. Last year Macquarie also issued £500 billion in bonds for further investments in clean energy projects.

Macquarie has been contacted for comment.

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