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Greater Manchester joins Strathclyde in backing community power

The Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) has backed a community renewable-power generation project with a £10m (€13.6m) commitment to Albion Community Power (ACP).

The £13.2bn local government pension scheme (LGPS) has backed ACP which primarily invests in UK-wide projects developing community-scale renewable energy.  

GMPF joins the £14.4bn Strathclyde Pension Fund and the UK’s Green Investment Bank (GIB) as investors in the ACP fund.

ACP has now raised 70% of its desired funding of £100m as it announced a further £3.3m investment in a hydro-electric scheme in the Scottish Highlands.

The commitment from GMPF comes as the England’s largest LGPS fund grows its infrastructure and real asset exposure.

Councillor Kieran Quinn, chair of GMPF, said the fund was pleased to be able to support community projects in renewable energy.

“ACP will play a key role in this regard as the pressure to diversify beyond carbon-based energy sources becomes even greater,” he added.

The scheme, which pays pensions of council workers in Northwest England, last week announced it was part of a global consortium investing in agriculture via TIAA-CREF, as US asset manager.

GMPF, alongside Swedish fund AP2 and fellow LGPS the Environment Agency Pension Fund (EAPF), will invest in farmland across North and South America and Australia.

The fund also joined AP2 in TIAA-CREF’s timber investment fund, each committing $50m to a new company called Global Timber Resources.

Strathclyde’s earlier £10m commitment to ACP came as part of the fund’s New Opportunities Portfolio (NOP) which allows the scheme to make experimental investments in real assets opportunities.

The scheme has over £100m in the fund and invests in social infrastructure, residential real estate and real estate credit.

Strathclyde chair, Councillor Paul Rooney, said it came as no surprise GMPF was now involved in the project.

“There is clearly a strong and growing appetite among forward-thinking pension funds to diversify their portfolios into this exciting sector,” he said.

“Manchester is one of those funds, so it is no surprise to be working with them and the Green Investment Bank to provide funding for innovative, community-focused infrastructure.”

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