NTR wins €84m backing from European Investment Bank

Funding to support onshore wind, solar energy and energy storage schemes

The EIB has invested over €130 billion globally in renewables. Photograph: iStock

The EIB has invested over €130 billion globally in renewables. Photograph: iStock

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An Irish renewable energy investment company has secured €84 million in backing from the low cost European Investment Bank (EIB) to support its long-term plans.

NTR plc, which owns a raft of wind turbines mainly located in the North, has received backing for its NTR Renewable Energy Income Fund II which will support onshore wind and solar projects as well as energy storage schemes.

Dublin-based NTR is operating a €1.2 billion pan-European fund, of which €500 million is equity with the remainder in debt financing.

The EIB’s backing is expected to attract institutional investors and pension funds to NTR’s fund which will in turn support up to 20 different renewable energy projects. The fund will provide long-term equity financing of over 25 years to “accelerate development of small and medium sized renewable energy projects”.

“As world climate leaders meeting in Poland to discuss implementation of the Paris Agreement, the new €84 million support for renewable energy projects across Europe by NTR demonstrates the EU bank’s firm commitment to accelerating investment crucial for tackling climate change,” said EIB vice president Andrew McDowell.

This funding represents the EIB’s first every backing for investment through an ICAV, or Irish Collective Asset-management Vehicle.

An ICAV is a corporate vehicle designed for Irish investment funds authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland. It is particularly useful for US investors in investment funds as it allows them to be subject to US tax as if they held the underlying assets in the fund directly.

Climate commitments

“NTR’s new cooperation with the European Investment Bank reflects our shared goal of ensuring long-term investment in renewable energy projects essential for achieving Europe’s climate commitments. We welcome the €84 million backing from the EIB and look forward to working together in the years ahead.” said Dr Rosheen McGuckian, chief executive of NTR plc.

The EIB has been a supporter of Irish renewable energy projects in the past. In May, the bank confirmed funding of €79.5 million for the Oweninny wind farm in Co Mayo. It has also supported ESB’s electric car charging infrastructure and Eirgrid’s east-west interconnector.

Climate-related investment has become a formal priority for the bank, which has invested over €130 billion globally in the sector, thus supporting more than €600 billion in climate related investment.

Commenting on the announcement, Richard Bruton, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, said the Government’s goal is to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change.

“ Being a leader means acting now, stretching ourselves and seizing the enterprise opportunities in a low carbon economy,” he said.

Outside renewables, the EIB is a significant lender in the Irish market. Last year, it provided more than €1 billion worth of financing to Irish operations. That included support for the National Children’s Hospital, a redevelopment of the Port of Cork, and a long-term loan to the National University of Ireland Galway.

The bank has also supported large infrastructure projects in the past number of years. In 2009 it agreed €260 million financing for Dublin Airport’s Terminal Two project. In 2014, it agreed to give €150 million to Luas Cross City.

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