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February 5, 2020updated 28 Feb 2020 1:44pm

Close Brothers Leasing finances gas peaking power plants for Conrad Energy

By Alejandro Gonzalez

Close Brothers Leasing has added to its energy book through the provision of a £70m facility to Conrad Energy for the development of gas peaking power plants with a combined installed capacity of 180MW.

Peaking power plants run when there is a high demand for electricity or to balance the grid when renewable energy supply is intermittent, using natural gas to generate power. Peaking power plants allow the share of renewable energy in the UK’s power mix to increase while ensuring continuity of supply. The technology is well proven with the engines typically having lifespans in excess of 30 years when fully serviced and maintained.

The sites will predominately be located in the north-west and south-east of England and near large metropolitan conurbations.

 Neil Davies, chief executive of Close Brothers Asset Finance and Leasing, said: “This is a significant facility in terms of value and the partnership with Conrad Energy is further proof that we’re fully committed to expanding our lending into this sector.

 “We have a specialist team in place that has been here for over six years, and in that time they have provided finance for over £1bn of energy projects, which is only set to develop even further.”

Steven Hardman, managing director of Conrad Energy, said: “I am delighted to have entered into Conrad’s first debt facility which will allow us to continue with our significant roll-out of gas peaking facilities across the UK. Close Brothers Leasing have been extremely supportive of our strategy and closing this facility underlies the quality of our assets and the professionalism of the Conrad team.”

Chris Dunley, finance director of Conrad Energy, said: “Conrad Energy has an exciting pipeline of projects in active development. This flexible facility is designed to allow us to quickly add projects to the portfolio as they move to construction and then into operation. The Close Brothers Leasing’s team listened to us and worked with me to find an effective structure to meet our requirements.”

James Sutcliffe, head of Close Brothers Leasing’s Energy division, said: “We are looking forward to working closely with Conrad Energy both now and in the future, as they develop and operate up to 1GW of flexible gas-fired generation and behind-the-meter assets.

“This sends a strong message that we are ‘open for business’ and have a significant appetite for deals of this type.”

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