UUs’ renewable energy portfolio changes hands after long term purchase agreement

Godley Reservoir solar panels

A range of renewable energy sites that generate 68.7MW of electricity for Warrington-based United Utilities Water (UUW) have been acquired.

London-based energy solutions business, UK Power Networks Services, has expanded its portfolio of key infrastructure assets with the deal for UU Solar, from London-based SDCL Energy Efficiency Income Trust LLP (SEEIT), for an undisclosed sum.

It sees UK Power Networks Services taking ownership of 70 solar, wind and hydro energy plants.

The portfolio is underpinned by a long term Power Purchase Agreement with UUW.

UK Power Networks Services has a long history of successfully and efficiently managing large asset portfolios for clients with critical national infrastructure and this investment will represent another strategic addition to its broad portfolio, it said.

Director of UK Power Networks Services, David Mitchell, said: “Our vision is to deliver sustainable, reliable energy and we see this renewables portfolio as a natural fit.

“Our long term objective is to grow our technology and geographic footprint in the renewables sector.”

He added: “We have been building our capacity in this sector in recent years and recently delivered one of the largest solar car ports in the UK. This acquisition has been carefully negotiated to achieve a good price and is another example of us investing in large portfolios of key renewable UK assets.”

United Utilities’ extensive renewable energy installation programme began in 2014, and it now has 70 solar, wind and hydro installations across the region, including Europe’s first commercial floating solar array on Godley Reservoir near Hyde in Manchester.

Other notable projects and successes as part of UU’s route to net zero include:

  • Hydro-turbine at Oswestry: Installed in 2019, this generates around 2,000,000 kWh per year, reducing the amount of electricity that has to be purchased from the grid which would otherwise cost around £300,000. The Feed in Tariff is also received, which is worth a further £140,000 per year.
  • More than 60MW of solar and wind generation has been installed over the past nine years, providing around six per cent of the total electricity required by the business.
  • In financial year 2021/22 United Utilities had its best ever generation from combined heat and power (CHP) engines and biomethane production, which uses the biogas produced from wastewater treatment. CHP electricity generation provided 17% of total electricity usage, and the biomethane produced is exported to the gas network to off-set natural gas use. In 2021 around 50,000 MWh of biomethane was exported, which is enough for 4,000 homes per year, based on the average use per UK home