Life Sciences and Energy

Gaelectric agrees in excess of €90mn in funding

By Business & Finance
28 November 2013

Dublin-based renewable energy group, Gaelectric, has announced that it has agreed in excess of €90mn in additional financing for its business.

Gaelectric with its team of 50 employees is active in the development and operation of wind and energy storage projects in Ireland, the US and the UK.

BlueBay Ireland Corporate Credit, a vehicle established by BlueBay Asset Management with substantial investment from the National Pensions Reserve Fund of Ireland to provide loans to larger SMEs and mid-sized corporates, is providing €30mn in business development and expansion funding, which will be available to support the growth of all aspects of Gaelectric’s business.

German Landesbank, Nord/LB, have structured a €56mn project debt facility to finance the build out of Gaelectric’s 42 MW wind farm at Dunbeg, Co. Derry/Londonderry. Dunbeg has a grid connection and full planning approval. Site preparation works commenced earlier this year. Dunbeg will be the third operating wind farm delivered by Gaelectric following operating projects at Skrine in Co. Roscommon (2011) and Carn Hill (2013). Commercial operation of Dunbeg is planned to commence by in August 2014. Nord/LB also participated in the funding round concluded by Gaelectric earlier this year.

Today’s announcement follows the successful conclusion of a previous funding round which raised €65mn in debt finance earlier this year for the development of its near-term pipeline of 165MW of wind energy projects on the island of Ireland.

Gaelectric recently announced a strategic alliance with international engineering firm Dresser-Rand to develop bulk energy storage projects using compressed air energy storage (CAES) technology commencing with Gaelectric’s CAES project near Larne, which is the most advanced project of its type in Europe.

Commenting, Gaelectric CEO, Brendan McGrath said: “Our progress in 2013 has been rapid, on both the corporate/funding side and on the project development/operations side of our business. This additional funding will allow us maintain the momentum we have created through next year and focus on our project milestones which ultimately create the value for our partners and investors.

The €30 mn in funding from BlueBay Ireland Corporate Credit also demonstrates how Government commercial investment, combined with market funding and expert lending, can be very effective in supporting Irish business.  To illustrate this, the BICC funding, when taken together with the other funding we have raised, has allowed us to increase the number of people employed by Gaelectric in Ireland on a full time basis by in excess of 20% during 2013 with a number of additional positions being filled at the present time.  This is a significant institutional investment in our business and it is satisfying that it is a National Pensions Reserve Fund-backed fund investing in an Irish renewable energy company.  Our BICC facility provides us with both the funding and the flexibility to apply it where it can be put to best use in the business.”

BlueBay’s Pat Walsh said: “Gaelectric is an exciting story in the renewable energy and energy storage sector.  With a strong platform in Ireland this business has the ability to significantly expand and to leverage its expertise in pursuit of further opportunities in Ireland, the UK, across Europe and in the USA.  This is the second loan that BICC has completed since its launch in July with discussions ongoing with a number of other mid-size companies.”