New UK onshore wind player Ventient sets sights on expansion

Written by
Andrew Lee

27 Nov 2017

27 Nov 2017 • by Andrew Lee

The UK’s newest large-scale wind farm owner began life today as Ventient Energy, with a 690MW capacity base and a plan to expand further under the wing of investment giant JP Morgan.

Edinburgh-based Ventient was formed by the merger of the former Infinis portfolio – now owned by JP Morgan Asset Management – with the fleet previously owned by Zephyr Wind Energy.

Ventient said it is the UK’s largest non-utility owner of onshore wind and the country’s third-largest onshore generator. The big two in the UK onshore market are utility heavyweights ScottishPower and SSE.

Ventient CEO Scott Mackenzie said: “The UK onshore wind market is fragmented, and Ventient Energy owns only 6% of market capacity at present, so we see plenty of opportunities to grow our installed capacity through consolidation.”

The majority of the power from the new company’s 507-turbine fleet comes from Scotland, currently the focus of most optimism in a UK onshore wind market that has been battered by adverse regulatory changes.

Large-scale onshore wind is mostly locked out of the UK’s contract-for-difference (CfD) support mechanism and was hit by tough new planning restrictions by the ruling Conservative government in London.

The devolved government in Scotland is far more favourable to onshore development, however, while many in the industry believe its excellent wind resources make the country an ideal location for projects to compete in the market on a subsidy-free basis.

Scotland’s onshore sector got a further boost in October when the UK government opened the door for projects on remote Scottish islands to compete in the next CfD round in 2019.