Greencoat Capital has announced it will manage a £120m investment from major UK pension funds to construct two large, low-carbon greenhouses.
One and a half times the size of the O2 Arena in Greenwich, the two greenhouses - which will aim to reduce the carbon footprint of food produce by 75% compared to European equivalents by using heat pumps rather than conventional greenhouse gas boilers - will be based at farmland sites near Norwich and Bury St Edmunds.
Greencoat Capital now manages £2bn of pension capital directly invested into renewable funds and will work with schemes including Willis Towers Watson to deliver this project.
A range of public and private pension funds have provided capital for the project, and it is expected to "generate predictable cash flows with consumer prices index (CPI) inflation protection at attractive risk-adjusted returns for the scheme investors".
Greencoat has worked with a number of schemes in the past, including the funds of the BBC, Vodafone, and Strathclyde, but it is unclear which schemes were involved in this latest project.
The project will also create 360 permanent jobs and 120 seasonal jobs.
Partner James Samworth said: "Technology and cross-sector co-operation is continuing to unlock some amazing possibilities in energy and agriculture. We see considerable opportunity to invest in renewable heat in the UK, providing pension investors with the predictable returns they require to pay beneficiaries, meanwhile reducing out carbon emissions as an economy."
Willis Towers Watson portfolio manager Duncan Hale said: "We are delighted to be partnering with Greencoat Capital on this project, particularly as we are making best efforts to invest in the low-carbon economy while still delivering the strong risk-adjusted cashflows our investors are after.
"This marks a step change in the decarbonisation of agri-business and heating, and we are proud to be supporting UK infrastructure with the assets we manage."
This follows a £250m investment by HSBC Bank UK Pension Scheme with Greencoat Capital in renewable energy infrastructure, including solar plants and wind farms.
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