"We constructed the company to be the buyer of choice for utilities," says partner.

Greencoat UK Wind has predicted more offshore windfarms will come onto the market as utility firms will start to build more facilities.

Speaking to Utility Week, the investment firm’s partner, Stephen Lilley, said he believes more offshore wind assets are “coming down the track” into the investment market.

Greencoat UK Wind bought three windfarms last month (August) and increased its holdings in another that it already owned.

The new acquisitions include the 69.5MW Corriegath windfarm on the eastern side of Loch Ness, the 60MW North Hoyle windfarm in Liverpool Bay and the 30MW Slieve Divena facility in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

Lilley said the investment firm spent around £325 million expanding its portfolio, which now stands at 24 windfarms around the UK.

“We have seen in the last few months a lot of transactions in the market and we’ve managed to be successful in a few of them,” he told Utility Week.

“But we think there is more offshore coming down the track.”

Lilley predicted more wind farm assets will be built offshore, with capacity set to increase from 5GW to 12GW.

“Does it mean we will buy more offshore? Yes, it probably does. Does it mean that most of what we will buy will be offshore? Probably not.

“We constructed the company to be the buyer of choice for utilities. We see ourselves buying operating assets.

“We believe utilities will recycle capital from onshore assets, so they can fund building offshore. So, it might well be we will buy more onshore assets, as they start to venture offshore and, in effect, fund that by doing so.”

But he added Greencoat UK Wind is unlikely to buy anything else at the moment.

“We have a leverage cap of 40 per cent, which is self imposed. The business can cope with a lot more debt than that, but we wanted to create a company where people know that whatever happens, they will pay the dividend. As we are currently at 38 per cent, we really can’t buy anything else before we raise additional equity,” added Lilley.

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