Octopus Renewables Infrastructure Trust plc is pleased to announce that it has acquired the Breach Solar Farm, ("Breach") a c.68MW ready-to-build solar PV project in Cambridgeshire, UK, from AGR Renewables. The total cost of acquisition and construction of the solar PV project is expected to be approximately £50 million. The acquisition also gives the Company the right to construct a battery storage project which is expected to be ready-to-build later in 2022, with a capacity of 50MW/100MWh.
In a separate transaction, the Company has entered into an agreement to acquire a 50% stake in a 12MW/24MWh ready-to-build battery storage project in Bedfordshire, UK, from Gridsource. The acquisition will be made alongside another Octopus managed fund, and is expected to complete by Q3 2022 conditional upon the lease agreement for the project site coming into effect. The consideration for the acquisition and the Company's share of future construction costs is expected to be approximately £4 million.
In late April 2022, the Company announced it had entered an agreement to acquire a 7.75% stake in the Lincs Offshore Wind Farm ("Lincs"), which has now completed. Lincs, located off the east coast of England, has been operational since 2013 and benefits from the UK's ROC regime, receiving 2 ROCs per megawatt hour of electricity generation during the first 20 years of operation. It has an installed capacity of 270MW, made up of 75 turbines each of 3.6 MW spread across c. 35 square kilometres. Lincs is operated and managed by Ørsted, the largest energy company in Denmark and a leading developer and operator of offshore wind farms in the UK and globally.
Construction on the Company's onshore wind farms in France, Poland and the UK has been progressing well. As at the date of this announcement, seven of eight turbines have been installed at the 24MW project in Cerisou, France and the project is expected to be commissioned in Q3 2022. At Kuslin in western Poland, all twelve turbines have been installed and have started generating, with final commissioning works for the 39.6MW wind farm expected to complete in the coming weeks. At the Cumberhead site in Scotland, foundation works for the 50MW wind farm have commenced with five of twelve bases poured to date. Turbine installations are expected to begin in early autumn, with electricity generation commencing in Q4 2022 and full commercial operations planned for Q1 2023.
Net Asset Value
As announced on 5 May 2022, the Company's unaudited cum-income net asset value ("NAV" or "Net Asset Value") per ordinary share of 1 penny each in the Company ("Ordinary Share") as at 31 March 2022 was 104.0p. As a result of the power price increases observed over recent months, the Company has fixed pricing on a significant portion of short term output, with approximately 62% of the revenues forecast to be received by the Company's current portfolio of assets in the two years ending 31 March 2024 now fixed*. In addition, approximately 54% of the revenues forecast to be received by the Company's current portfolio of assets in the ten years ending 31 March 2032 is now explicitly inflation linked (with reference to UK RPI, French inflation and Polish CPI as applicable)*. Since the end of Q1 2022, inflation forecasts for 2022 and 2023 and power price forwards for 2022-2025 have increased further across the markets where the Company's portfolio of assets is located. Against this background and for illustrative purposes the Company considers it appropriate to set out the impact on the NAV per Ordinary Share as at 31 March 2022 were it to have been calculated by reference to the following updated inputs: (i) recent consensus UK inflation forecasts published by Her Majesty's Treasury; (ii) inflation forecasts for European countries published by the European Commission; (iii) fixed prices entered into since 31 March 2022 on the Company's Finnish assets; (iv) average power market forward prices around the beginning of June 2022; and (v) application of an increased discount to forward prices of 20-30%. If such updated inputs had been utilised to calculate the 31 March 2022 Net Asset Value they would have increased the Net Asset Value per Ordinary Share as at 31 March 2022 by c.5-6p, to between 109p and 110p**. It should be noted that power prices and their forwards are particularly volatile at the present time and that the outturn prices may be materially different to the forward prices at a particular point in time. This announcement does not constitute or describe an updated NAV of the Company or NAV per Ordinary Share***.
Phil Austin, Chairman of Octopus Renewables Infrastructure Trust plc, commented:
"We are pleased to announce a number of developments today, including investments into ready-to-build solar PV and battery projects and an update on our construction projects. Our Investment Manager continues to deliver both on asset management and pipeline, actively managing our revenue streams and inflation linkage, allowing us to provide the market with new renewable generation capacity and enabling our shareholders to benefit from a diversified portfolio of impactful investments."
Chris Gaydon, Investment Director at Octopus Renewables, commented:
"Following ORIT's recent acquisition of a stake in the Lincs offshore wind farm, we are delighted with the announcement today of additional investments, including opportunities in stand-alone and co-located new-build battery projects. The need for battery storage assets is becoming increasingly important as more solar and wind assets are connected to the grid and will form a key part of the move to a renewables-led power system and achieving net zero."