Home » UK Infrastructure Bank and Centrica announce significant investment into sustainable electricity funds

UK Infrastructure Bank and Centrica announce significant investment into sustainable electricity funds

The deals, which represent the Bank’s first investments in the electricity storage sector, could facilitate around 1300 jobs and will unlock at least a further £200 million in match-funded private sector capital, acting as a catalyst for the sector and helping to build confidence among private investors.     

Securing enough storage capacity for the UK electricity network is vital to ensure the transition away from fossil fuels is affordable, secure and delivers the emissions reductions required to achieve net zero across the UK by 2050. Ramping up the scale and the rate of investment into electricity storage is crucial as homes and businesses across the UK increasingly rely on energy from intermittent renewable sources.   

Currently National Grid forecasts show that up to 29 GW of total storage could be needed by 2030 and up to 51 GW by 2050. This is a huge increase on the 5 GW currently available and means there is a clear need to accelerate deployment of capital and investment in new storage projects. 

  • Gresham House Secure Income Renewable Energy & Storage LP (SIRES) – The Bank will support the launch of the fund, alongside a seed investment of £65 million from Centrica, by committing to invest up to £75 million on a match-funding basis. Gresham House’s fund will focus on developing the collocation of renewable generation and short duration electricity storage facilities to help maximise grid connections. Centrica will be a cornerstone investor, and this marks the first time the business has invested in such a fund. The £65 million investment will be used to fund the construction of the seed asset, a collocated solar and battery energy storage project in Hartlepool, County Durham, with 50 MWp solar capacity and 75 MWh of battery energy storage. Centrica’s Energy Marketing & Trading business will seek to provide a route-to-market for the assets in the fund once they become operational. The fund in total is expected to create and support 400 jobs across the UK through the construction, operations and supply chain.   
  • Equitix UK Electricity Storage Fund – The Bank will support the launch of the fund by committing to invest up to £125million on a match-funding basis. The UK-based, infrastructure specialist asset manager has an extensive asset portfolio across the UK electricity value-chain which provides them with important insights into novel electricity storage project opportunities addressing the more acute constraints within the UK electricity network, as well as a strategic partner network that can help deliver these projects. The fund will focus on a combination of innovative business models across both short and long duration storage. Short duration strategies may include installation in households and at underutilised commercial premises, as well as co-location (combining both the battery storage and renewable energy generation at the same site). The fund will also aim to deploy a range of long duration storage technologies, such as pumped-hydro, a type of energy storage that uses water reservoirs at different elevations to generate and store electricity. The fund is expected to facilitate 900 jobs across the UK.  

John Flint, CEO of UK Infrastructure Bank said: “Increasing electricity storage capacity will help secure energy supply in the future and drive us along the path to net zero. We are making progress as a nation, but we need much more investment to meet necessary targets, and the clock is ticking.  

“The Bank’s investment into these new funds will help break down the barriers to greater, long-term investment across a range of storage sector and renewable energy opportunities.”  

Chris O’Shea, CEO, Centrica said: “We’re delighted to be the cornerstone investor in this fund and look forward to working with our partners, Gresham House and the UK Infrastructure Bank, to deliver cleaner, greener and cheaper power to our customers. 

“Some think the UK’s journey to net zero has to be expensive and inconvenient, but at Centrica we see the transition to net zero as a fantastic opportunity for the UK to create new wellpaid jobs and for businesses to transform the way they operate. We expect hundreds of millions of pounds to be invested through this fund in renewable energy generation and storage assets in the UK, strengthening our leadership as the UK’s largest provider of green electricity.”

UK Infrastructure Bank’s ambition is to play a key role in supporting the storage sector which is critical to facilitating the transition to greener technologies. Given the urgency of the drive to reach net zero, the Bank is partnering with these highly regarded third-party fund managers to deploy its capital into the storage sector without delay, as it continues to build its internal capabilities to make direct equity investments.