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UK: World’s first sustainable low-carbon greenhouse project

  • United Kingdom
  • Energy and infrastructure - Clean energy


Advising on an innovative first in the renewables heat sector

Eversheds Sutherland has advised Oasthouse Ventures on the development of the world’s first sustainable, low-carbon greenhouse projects.

The Clean Energy and Sustainability team from Eversheds Sutherland advised Oasthouse Ventures on the development of a £120m project to construct two greenhouses in Norfolk and Suffolk, UK and the sale of these projects to funds managed by Greencoat Capital LLP. Using ground-breaking approaches, the greenhouses will be warmed by residual heat from two nearby water treatment works. The new greenhouses address a number of environmental concerns, dramatically boosts UK food security, and creates 360 permanent new jobs.

The two sites will span 29 hectares, the size of approximately 47 international football pitches. Commercial greenhouses are typically energy intensive, however this ground-breaking new project will reduce the carbon footprint of produce by as much as 75% compared to equivalent greenhouses in Northern Europe. Construction on the sites will begin immediately, and is due for completion in Autumn 2020.

Capital for the project comes from a number of UK pension funds, reflecting the growing trend of direct investment into renewable infrastructure.

Eversheds Sutherland have worked with Oasthouse Ventures from its inception, guiding them through a number of new regulatory and consenting hurdles, setting up the construction framework and working with investors. The team, led by Stephen Hill, corporate partner in the Clean Energy and Sustainability team at Eversheds Sutherland, consisted of Richard Streeter (Partner, Construction), Ben Brown (Senior Associate, Regulatory) and Emma Waterhouse (Associate, Corporate).

Stephen Hill, Partner at Eversheds Sutherland, commented:

“Greenhouses are extremely important to the agriculture sector and to food security in the UK, but remain massively energy intensive. As the UK moves towards a low-carbon future, and heat becomes increasingly seen as a crucial part of the energy mix, our team was well placed to advise on a venture that uses the Renewable Heat Incentive and sets the standards for sustainable agriculture across Europe. It is made possible by an attractive investment proposition that supports the economy, local community and environment.”

Andy Allen, Director at Oasthouse Ventures, said:

“Delivering a world first low carbon greenhouse system is hugely exciting for the small team who took this from conception, design, planning, contracting and now the important milestone of financial close. The environmental, social and political benefits of these systems is significant. We look forward to further disrupting the traditional carbon heavy models of agriculture.”

If you would like to discuss clean energy opportunities in Europe or globally, please contact the team below.