Canadian investment firm Brookfield is set to buy Banks Renewables, a UK renewable energy company, for $1bn (£830m).
In addition to its existing assets, Banks Renewables is planning the Lethans Wind Farm in East Ayrshire and the Mill Rig Wind Farm in South Lanarkshire, which will add 400MW of additional capacity.
Harry Banks, founder and chair of Banks Group, said: “I believe that Brookfield’s establishment position in the renewables industry and the strong cultural fit that exists between both businesses will lead to this acquisition being to the benefit of all parties involved. The greater resources of Brookfield will enable the fuller development of opportunities which Banks Renewables are introducing.”
The wind industry in the UK has recently been challenged by a combination of supply chain disruptions, rising project costs and inflation. Few new onshore sites have received planning permission. An effective ban on new onshore wind farms in Britain in 2015 allowed new projects to be stopped by local authorities based on just one objection. Former Prime Minister David Cameron said at the time that the public was “frankly fed up with so many wind farms being built”.
However, early in September, the Sunak Government overturned the ban, making councils consider the views of the whole community rather than just one complainant.
Brookfield and French bank Société Générale announced a private debt fund with initial seed funding of €2.5bn ($2.62bn) committed to the power, transport and finance sectors in September.
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Banks Renewables is headquartered in Durham and manages 11 onshore wind farms spread across Yorkshire, the North East, the North West and Scotland. The company is part of the family owned Banks Group, which was founded in 1976. Banks Renewables was established in 2006 and has grown to become one of the UK’s largest independent operators of onshore wind.