Banks Renewables completes funding deal for construction of two Yorkshire wind farms

April 7, 2011 | Hazlehead News

Banks Renewables, part of The Banks Group, has successfully completed a funding agreement with The Co-operative Bank to part-fund the construction of two new Yorkshire wind farms in which Banks is making a total investment of £21m.

Work on the Hazlehead and Marr schemes is set to begin shortly after Durham-based Banks secured the largest investment in the renewables market that The Co-operative Bank has made to date.

And the company is now actively looking at the same project finance model to fund a number of similar projects that it currently has at different stages of the planning process, as it continues to establish itself as one of the leading owner/operators in the UK onshore renewables market.

The three-turbine Hazlehead wind farm is situated on formerly derelict brownfield land to the west of Barnsley, whilst the Marr scheme comprises four turbines and is located five miles to the west of Doncaster.

When fully operational, the schemes will produce up to 14.4MW of renewable energy between them, enough to meet the annual power requirements of up to 9,000 homes.

Banks expects the two schemes to be activated by Autumn of  2011.  Financial advice on the deal was provided to Banks Renewables by Grant Thornton, and legal advice by Bond Pearce.

Neil Brown, group commercial director at The Banks Group, says: “Securing the largest investment that the Co-operative Bank has ever made in the renewables industry not only represents a validation of the strength of the UK market, but also of the business model that Banks Renewables is following in this area.

“We are committed to becoming one of the UK’s leading owner/operators of onshore wind farms, and the investment model that we have used to secure this funding could provide the template for a portfolio of future sites that we are currently progressing across the north of England and Scotland.”

James Sutcliffe, Senior Manager in The Co-operative Bank’s Renewable Energy Team said: “We’re delighted to have given our backing in support of Banks Renewables’ vision for the renewable energy sector, and look forward to building on the close working relationship that’s been formed between the two organisations.

“We believe medium scale renewables projects such as these can make a significant contribution to the country’s future energy mix and help with the required transition to a low carbon economy. We are looking to continue to grow our exposure to this sector ”

Nathan Goode, head of energy, environment and sustainability at Grant Thornton UK LLP says: “The challenge of developing the UK renewable sector is considerable but it is hoped that this project could pave the way for attracting more new entrants to the renewables market and encourage banks to get behind sustainability projects.

“The Government faces steep policy targets such as the reduction of UK carbon emissions below the Kyoto benchmark of 60% by 2050 and these targets require a focused push in the renewables sector to ensure they are met. Bank-funded projects such as this set a precedent in moving sustainability up the agenda and demonstrating to foreign companies the potential for investment”

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