Development projects 2023

In 2023 we continued to deliver our technology and revenue diversification strategy, which is aligned with government policy to transition to a renewables dominated electricity grid by 2035.

Renewables now account for more than 47% of UK electricity generation – a new annual record set last year which represents a 40% rise from 7% in 20101. The UK is the first major economy to halve its greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 2022, while also growing its economy by 79%2.

We have continued to invest in a range of proven clean technologies that can work together to fully decarbonise the UK’s electricity system, reflecting the government’s legally binding net zero targets.

1. Grid connected wind and solar – The UK benefits from abundant wind and solar resource, with these technologies representing the cheapest way to generate electricity. In 2023, we provided Ethical Power with a £20 million loan (our biggest single investment to date) to help fund its share of a pipeline of renewable projects across the UK, totalling around 190MW.

2. Direct wire renewables – Direct wire projects offer on-site electricity generation to an industrial host, reducing the carbon intensity of their operations. We have continued to fund more on-site renewable projects, giving businesses access to low cost, zero carbon electricity and price stability.

3. Flexibility – To make the most of the UK’s wind and solar resource, the UK needs to expand storage capacity.

The commissioning of our 20MW battery project at Feeder Road in Bristol completed in 2023. We also becoming the first commercial battery owner in the UK to offer the local community a stake in a standalone battery. Bristol Energy Cooperative was able to make a co-investment of up to 20 per cent, meaning that local good causes will be able to benefit from a share of the revenues generated from the project.

4. Baseload renewable electricity generation – In order to reduce the UK’s reliance on expensive and polluting fossil fuel generation, we need additional options which can deliver renewable power whatever the weather. After providing the first commercial funding for the United Downs Geothermal project in 2020. In March 2023, we followed this up with a further £2.8 million investment alongside co-investors, with the funding being used to complete construction of the project by the end of 2024. Site operator – Geothermal Engineering Limited (GEL) – predicts United Downs will deliver 2MWe of baseload electricity once operational, plus additional zero carbon heat.

5. Earlier stage development – Most of our investments acquired or funded to date have been assets with planning consent, a grid connection offer and land option already in place. In response to an increase in market demand for assets at this point in their development journey, we started investing at an earlier stage of development, using innovative commercial approaches to create a long-term pipeline of additional projects.

 Development projects