SSE Backs Top Power Execs With New UK Renewable Energy Group

A group of energy sector entrepreneurs, supported by a Scottish multi-national energy company, has announced the launch of a business venture focused on rolling out large-scale wind and solar farms across the UK and Europe.

Renewco Power on Sept. 22 said it wants to develop more than 4 GW of renewable energy projects in the next five years. The Edinburgh, Scotland-based company on Wednesday said it has received a £24 million ($32.76 million, €28 million) commitment from SSE plc, a low-carbon infrastructure company and a partner of the COP26 global climate summit that will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in November. The SSE plc funding is via Corran Capital, a UK-based private investment firm focused on the clean energy and environmental sectors.

Renewco’s founders and executive team includes Frans van den Heuvel, former CEO of Solarcentury, and Alan Baker, former CEO of Airtricity-Scotland and Forsa Energy, two of Europe’s most successful renewable power entrepreneurs. Renewco’s CEO is Gavin McCallum, who has a background in private equity and the energy sector, including more than a decade at oil and gas giant BP, where he helped lead BP’s global power and alternative energy groups. McCallum most recently has been a consultant with Scottish National Investment Bank.

‘Urgent Demand for Renewables’

“There is a growing and urgent demand for utility-scale renewables projects across Europe, and we are excited about the potential we see for Renewco,” said McCallum. “Renewco has a unique blend of entrepreneurial talent with deep power sector and financial expertise which we will use to accelerate new developments across Europe. We will be growing our team over the coming months, adding further commercial expertise to accelerate the delivery of our strategy.”

Gary Le Sueur, left, is chairman of the newly formed Renewco. At right is Gavin McCallum, the Scotland-based company’s CEO. Credit: Chris Watt

Renewco’s founding team has more than 100 years of combined renewables development and investment experience, and has developed more than 10 GW of renewable energy projects in more than 50 countries. The team has raised more than £2 billion ($2.7 billion) to finance these assets.

Gary Le Sueur, a co-founder and former partner of Scottish Equity Partners (SEP), will chair Renewco. Le Sueur recently founded Corran Capital to invest in clean energy and climate-focused companies. Le Sueur is joined on Renewco’s board by Derrick Allan, head of SGN Smart, a smart-meter service provider. Allan is former chairman of Solarcentury.

Other members of Renewco’s team are Alp Karli, founder of Value Renewables, a solar power business. Karli will be Renewco’s chief commercial officer; he previously worked for Vestas, the Danish wind turbine manufacturer. Romain Keyen, who was previously with SEP, will serve as Renewco’s chief investment officer. 

Le Sueur told POWER: “In forming Renewco we have pulled together a highly experienced and successful team of renewable sector entrepreneurs. With the substantial financial backing from SSE, we see an exciting future for Renewco. The team already has a promising pipeline of opportunities and is interested in hearing from local renewable energy developers from Europe and the U.S. to explore potential collaboration opportunities.” 

SSE’s Renewable Energy Goals

“Renewco has a first-class management team and this financial investment is one we expect to generate strong returns,” said Martin Pibworth, SSE Group Energy & Commercial Director. “We see this as a complementary investment to SSE’s own core renewables and distributed energy businesses and look forward to seeing Renewco deliver their ambitious plans.”

SSE’s current renewable energy portfolio includes about 4 GW of onshore wind, offshore wind and hydropower. The company has said it wants to triple its renewable energy output by 2030, with a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. SSE has more than 1 GW of onshore wind project under development.

Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).

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