Octopus Investments raises £800m for renewables infrastructure blitz

Alternative investment group Octopus Investments has today announced that it raised £800m for investment in renewable energy infrastructure last year.

In an announcement this morning the group revealed it raised a total of £2bn over the year to the end of March, bringing the total institutional funds under management (FUM) to £4.6bn as well as increasing its pool of global investors by 50 per cent.

Of the £800m raised renewable energy infrastructure, The National Employment Savings Trust committed a further £200m in the period which Octopus said would be used towards renewable projects in the UK and Europe as part of its push to become a net zero emissions investor.

Octopus also announced it had won an additional £150m corporate pension mandate to invest in renewable energy infrastructure, and £190m from a North American government pension plan to invest in the development of new renewable energy assets.

The company, which is the parent of the fast expanding energy giant Octopus Energy and its renewables arm Octopus Renewables, also revealed that it has become a B Corporation.

“Our client base has long been interested in private markets with a sustainable tilt, but we have seen a step change in commitments in the past year with an additional capital being assigned to our strategies from investors across the globe,” said Chris Hulatt, co- founder, Octopus Group.

“Healthcare and renewables are two particularly dominant trends, with the climate crisis and global pandemic putting a sharp focus on the role for private capital to drive tangible, positive change against these themes.”

Octopus said that it will be prioritising investment in the global energy transition in the years ahead, which it said will prove central to the world achieving its net zero targets and enhancing energy security. It is also stressed that its strategy was responding to investor demand.

“External events over the past 12 months have led to more conversations with investors around how they can invest capital in ways that will achieve both profit and purpose, and we are committed to continuing to provide investors with innovative and impactful solutions that drive meaningful change, said Jennifer Ockwell, head of institutional.

The update comes on the same day as Octopus Energy announced a partnership with turbine manufacturer EWT to rapidly repower up to 1,000 existing wind turbines in the UK.

Octopus and EWT said they have identified turbines located across England, Scotland and Wales that have already been powering communities for years that would benefit from being replaced or upgraded to boost their capacity.

By increasing the green generation capacity of around a tenth of the UK’s fleet of onshore turbines, there is potential to power hundreds of thousands more homes with new cheap, green energy, and drive down energy bills for more people, Octopus Energy said.

Work on the project is set to begin this autumn with the new EWT wind turbines boasting between 250kW and 1MW of capacity. The companies said that the approach could be extended to other European markets.

Octopus also indicated that upgraded turbines owned by community operators could be brought into its ‘Fan Club’ initiative, where local residents are offered discounted energy prices when the turbines are generating power.

“We need to build enormous amounts of new renewable power, but at the same time it’s a no-brainer to make better use of the UK’s existing onshore wind turbines,” said Zoisa North-Bond, CEO of Octopus Energy Generation. “There’s a huge untapped opportunity to repower wind turbines that communities have already hosted for many years. This means powering even more homes with cheaper, local, green energy, helping to drive down energy bills and provide energy security.”

Carel Kok, CEO at EWT, added that by working with Octopus to rapidly repower lots of older turbines in the UK, “we’ll help bring online much more renewable capacity”.

“Our powerful and tech-enabled turbines are the perfect ‘goldilocks’ solution for communities,” he said. “We’re looking forward to installing many more in the years to come to turn this vision into reality.”

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