London-listed fund acquires Co Tyrone wind farm in £51m deal

The Slieve Divena wind farm next to Tyrone GAA's headquarters in Garvaghey, which has been acquired by Greencoat UK. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Ryan McAleer

A WIND farm located next to Tyrone GAA’s headquarters in Garvaghey is to be sold in a £51 million deal.

SSE Renewables confirmed that Greencoat UK will complete its acquisition for another eight turbines at Slieve Divena, some four miles from Ballygawley.

The wind farm, which has been operational since 2017, is capable of powering around 16,000 homes per year. The deal is expected to close at the end of March.

The London-listed renewable infrastructure fund previously acquired 12 turbines in the first phase of the Slieve Divena project in 2017 as part of a £105m deal that included an offshore wind farm near Liverpool.

Greencoat’s expanding portfolio of wind farms now includes six in Co Tyrone, two in Fermanagh and one in Derry.

SSE Renewables confirmed that it is entering into an asset management agreement to manage the Slieve Divena II wind farm for Greencoat, while SSE’s retail arm in Ireland, SSE Airtricity, will continue to manage the electricity generated at the site.

SSE Airtricity will also continue to operate the annual community fund for Slieve Divena II on behalf of the new owners.

A recent set of accounts published for SSE Renewables Onshore Windfarm Holdings Limited, revealed the Belfast-registered holding company posted a pre-tax profit of £543.6 million for the year ending March 31 2019.

The holding company includes a series of SSE’s onshore assets in the UK, including Slieve Divena Wind Farm No.2 Ltd.

The pre-tax profits were significantly inflated by the sale of wind farm assets in in Scotland totalling £483.6m.

Even with those exceptional items, the company’s operating profit was £50.3m, making it one of the most profitable businesses incorporated in Northern Ireland.

The last accounts published by SSE Renewables Onshore reveal it paid a dividend of £350.3m in the 2018-19 reporting year, equivalent to £3.43m per share.

The company is ultimately owned by SSE plc.

Commenting on the latest sale of its assets, SSE Renewables’ managing director, Jim Smith said the deal extends the company’s longstanding relationship with Greencoat.

“This sale is a further example of how SSE Renewables is creating high quality assets aligned with the transition to a low carbon economy.

“Strategic asset disposals are in line with our longstanding approach to create value from the development and operation, as well as ownership, of renewable energy assets, and supports our ongoing future investment strategy to develop and build more onshore and offshore wind farms in our core markets of the UK and Ireland.”

Chairman of Greencoat UK Wind, Tim Ingram, said the acquisition represented the eighth from SSE Renewables.

“Slieve Divena II is a high quality, ROC-accredited asset sitting alongside our Slieve Divena wind farm and is a natural addition to our portfolio of operating UK wind farms, which now has a net generating capacity of almost 1GW.”

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