A COMPANY formed to help the North East become an international centre for renewables is looking to raise £300m of funding to fuel the growth of green industry.
Narec Capital was launched this year by the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec), in Blyth, Northumberland, and London-based financial advisers Ashberg to develop green technology with commercial potential which it has said is likely to create a “significant” number of jobs.
The venture originally intended to secure around £200m of funding from a combination of bank debt, European grants and private investment, but now plans to raise £300m over the next six to nine months.
Narec Capital said it is drawing up a list of projects to invest in, particularly those based around bio-fuels and the offshore wind supply chain.
The group is considering its involvement in the Government’s upcoming offshore renewable energy technology and innovation centre, which would involve a competitive process.
A successful bid would see Narec working with businesses and universities to speed up the development of renewable technologies in the UK.
Jerry Biggs, chief executive of Narec Capital, said: “Renewable energy has become a key sector of attention for a host of investors and there are now a number of exciting developments coming to the fore as part of the Narec Capital partnership, which we hope to be able to announce soon.
“It is important that we are able to support continued indigenous industrial growth in the North East, and it is clear that renewables will play a key part in this.”
At the launch of the joint venture between Narec and Ashberg, which represents families who have amassed at least £50m and who are looking for investment opportunities, particularly in the environmental industries, Narec finance director Michael Hitchcock said the plan would see the creation of “a significant amount of jobs.”
Narec Capital is creating a separate £30m pool of funding to invest in a new business incubator at the Blyth site, which will host budding entrepreneurs.
It is already in talks with three businesses, one from Spain and the other two from the UK, and hopes to have up to seven businesses identified for incubation by the end of the year.
Mr Biggs said: “The companies we work with as part of the incubator will need to illustrate whether there is a market demand for their product, whether it will make a difference and that their business models work.
“We are already in talks with three businesses and are excited about the opportunities that the incubator model presents to the region’s green energy supply chain.”
“We will use funding from Narec Capital to put these businesses through a robust incubation programme, which will eventually help to strengthen the North East’s role in creating a dedicated supply chain for the renewable energy sector.
“By attracting talent from around the country and overseas, the incubator will become an important part of Narec.”
The joint venture has also been hard at work promoting Narec and the Port of Blyth as a centre for the offshore wind industry and last week visited the Offshore Wind UK conference in Liverpool.