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Renewable Energy Investment Sees 112% Rise, Report Reveals

2016's M&A activity was worth £3.4 billion, apparently.

Last year saw renewable energy investments climb from £3.1 billion to reach a record £6.6 billion, with offshore wind projects driving a 112 per cent hike.

This is according to the latest report from law firm TLT, revealing that offshore wind mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity was worth £3.4 billion in 2016, up from the £384 million that was recorded a year earlier.

In addition, M&A activity was also strong where biomass was concerned in 2016, hitting a record £498 million, a rise of 43 per cent. The report went on to predict that M&A activity across the renewables sector as a whole would most likely stay strong this year, with £2.9 billion already registered for the first quarter of 2017. And high demand will likely drive even more interest in smaller business ventures and projects, as well as less well established technologies such as energy storage.

Energy storage has been tipped as the technology that will really revolutionise the sector, with projects already proving to be of interest in terms of investment at the moment. However, the key to ensuring that energy storage remains attractive is provable revenue streams. It was also observed that both biomass and offshore wind have critical roles to play in pushing the UK towards a future where much of the energy consumed actually derives from renewable sources.

Head of energy and renewables with the law firm Maria Connolly commented: “The data for 2016 clearly shows a strong, robust sector adapting to a subsidy-free era. Renewables projects are a good source of long-term and stable returns for investors and funders. Scale and maturity will continue to make renewables attractive to both finance and re-finance as the secondary market expands.”

This comes after Barbour ABI’s latest report showed that offshore wind farms made up 42 per cent of construction contract value across the power and utilities sectors in 2016. Activity in this particular industry hit a record high last year, with construction value reaching £4.1 billion. The projects that had the biggest impact last year were the Beatrice, Galloper and East Anglia wind farms.

And last month, National Grid confirmed that the UK had its first day without coal-fired energy since the industrial revolution. The country was in fact the first to use coal for electricity back in 1882, when the Holborn Viaduct power station was opened – but now the government intends to phase out coal-fired power stations by the year 2025 as part of its plans to reduce carbon emissions and hit its climate change targets.

Good Friday saw the country go an entire day without coal, most likely because of reduced demand over the Easter break, coupled with sunny conditions and high winds – which helped to ensure that renewable energy production was above average. The longest the UK went without coal-fired fuel prior to this was 19 hours, which occurred back in February.

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