UK-based Octopus Investments has joined the rush for Australian renewable projects, announcing a new office in Melbourne on Monday (2 July).
New Australia head, Sam Reynolds, said it was looking to deploy money from fund clients in its home base as well as tapping Australian institutional funds.
Octopus is “actively exploring several investment opportunities” at the moment and is happy to participate in competitive auctions or bilateral deals, Reynolds told Inframation.
Reynolds couldn’t say when it will be acquiring solar sites, or when it will offer something to invest in. “I can’t give you a date right now but we’re actively exploring an investment product for Australian-based investors,” he added.
“Several senior members of [the] European solar investment team are now based here in Australia. We’ll keep our eyes open for opportunities in other sectors, but solar is our initial focus,” he added.
“We own the largest [solar] portfolio in Europe with around 160 sites under management,” he said.
Octopus Investments describes itself as the largest non-utility owner of renewable plants in Europe, with a GBP 2.6bn (USD 3.42bn), 2,026MW portfolio. This includes close to 200 projects in solar, wind, biomass and energy-from-waste projects in Europe.
Reynolds said its size and experience would differentiate it from the many other investors landing in Australia to buy into the increasing supply of renewable projects being built to meet the country’s 2020 renewable energy target.
“We’re able to move quickly and scale quickly – our track record in Europe growing from no energy investments in 2010 to the largest solar portfolio in the continent in just five years proves this. We’ll be looking out for opportunities to replicate this in Australia.”