Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, a specialist global investment manager focused exclusively on renewables, storage and grid support infrastructure investment, has acquired a consented 350 MW solar and battery storage project, located in Kent, U.K. (Project Fortress). Quinbrook expects to commence construction of the project in the first half of 2022.
Once operational, Fortress is expected to be the largest single site solar photovoltaic (PV) installation in the U.K., at more than three times the size of the U.K.’s next largest consented solar PV project.
A nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP), Fortress was granted development consent by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in May 2020. Fortress is forecast to generate enough renewable power each year to meet the power needs of about 100,000 UK homes and to help reduce carbon emissions by 164,450 tons in its first year of operations alone.
Fortress includes an extensive landscape and biodiversity management plan, designed in collaboration with Natural England, Kent Wildlife Trust, RSPB and the Environment Agency. It will add more than 3.5 kilometers of native hedgerow screen planting across the site and seek to deliver a net gain of 65% in biodiversity.
Project Fortress follows closely behind Quinbrook’s massive Gemini Solar + Battery Storage Project in Nevada, which is currently under construction. Developed by Quinbrook portfolio company Primergy Solar, Gemini is a $1.1 billion, 690 MW solar PV and 380 MW battery storage system. Gemini is expected to host over 1.8 million solar modules and generate enough renewable energy to meet the residential power demands of the entire City of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Primergy Solar also recently announced the 600 MW Hot Pot and Iron Point solar + battery storage projects in Nevada, which are proposed to replace the retiring North Valmy coal-fired power station. Quinbrook’s Nevada projects together with Fortress bring the current solar + battery storage portfolio to well over 1.6 GW of solar PV and 1 GW of battery storage capacity representing over $2.5 billion of project capital investment for the U.S. and UK renewables markets.
“We believe Project Fortress is a landmark transaction on many fronts and represents a new frontier in UK solar teamed with large scale battery storage,” comments Rory Quinlan, co-founder and managing partner of Quinbrook. “We have been immersed in large scale solar and storage in the U.S. for many years and we can apply our significant experience in project design and equipment selection to ensure Fortress becomes the new benchmark for renewables that support the UK grid rather than challenge it.”
Quinbrook plans to apply several progressive innovations at Fortress for real-time measurement and reporting of carbon emissions in the UK power grid and the 24/7 tracing and tracking of the renewable provenance of the power sold to the project’s offtakers. Using advanced blockchain and other applications, Quinbrook aims to deliver a complete carbon reporting service to assist customers with tracking progress against their Net Zero goals and their compliance obligations with TCFD and related carbon reporting.