HgCapital sells 177 MW UK wind portfolio to Blue Energy

Wed Feb 6, 2013 12:07pm EST

* HgCapital was one of biggest UK onshore wind investors

* Says no current plans to reinvest in UK wind sector

LONDON Feb 6 (Reuters) - Renewable energy private equity firm HgCapital has sold a 177 megawatt British wind power portfolio to developer Blue Energy for 250 million pounds ($391 million), the firm said, to provide returns to its investors.

The deal includes the sale of wind developer RidgeWind, which has 45 MW of projects in late-stage construction, and 132 MW that have planning permission.

"The exit was in line with the fund's strategy," Rob de Laszlo, a member of HgCapital's renewable energy team, said in an interview on Wednesday. "We look to invest over a period of two to five years and (then) return capital to our investors."

HgCapital had been one of the largest financial investors in UK onshore wind. It still has three British industrial sites following the latest deal and a sale last year of three operating wind farms with a combined capacity of 102 MW to Munich Re, de Laszlo said.

It also has a 180 MW portfolio of wind projects in Sweden.

HgCapital raised its second renewable energy fund of 542 million euros in 2011.

A listed fund, HgCapital Trust, said on its website that it had invested in the private equity firm's two renewable funds.

De Laszlo said there were "no current plans" to re-invest in British wind farms but that the firm was "still positive" about the sector.

"When (policy) is rolled out and effective, there will be future opportunities," he added.

Research last year showed that renewables investment in Britain has more than halved over the past three years due to government indecision about clean energy policy.

Britain needs the private sector to invest tens of billions of pounds in low-carbon energy over the next decade to meet emissions reduction targets.

The government has also been criticised for having too many policies to help spur clean energy investment, some of which overlap or fall short.

This week Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain needed a single coherent strategy to become the most energy efficient country in Europe.