Biodiversity Net Gain: An Evolution in Sustainable Solar Investment

The UK has become one of the first countries to introduce a biodiversity net gain requirement, this groundbreaking move aligns with NextEnergy Capital’s existing commitment to sustainable land use practice, and presents opportunities for investors in utility-scale solar.


Biodiversity Net Gain contributes towards nature recovery through habitat creation enhancement and management.  Ensuring that we create connected habitats and resilient wildlife corridors, we are actively contributing to nature improvement and helping wildlife adapt to climate change. Natural England states that BNG can help contribute towards ‘more, bigger, better and joined up’ green and blue networks and deliver priorities for nature set out in Local Nature Recovery Strategies or other strategic plans.

Committed as a TNFD Early Adopter, NextEnergy Capital acknowledges the global deterioration of nature, and recognises the interdependence of society and the economy on the health and resilience of biodiversity. Given that climate change is a significant driver of nature loss, we see an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the intricate relationship between climate and nature across our investments.

The implementation of mandatory BNG presents a chance for businesses and finance to play a pivotal role in promoting positive change for the health and resilience of nature. It serves as a quantifiable measure of conservation and restoration efforts. NextEnergy Capital fully supports the world-leading Environment Act and is proud to actively contribute to helping the UK achieve global targets aimed at halting the decline of nature loss.

 Environmental Impact:

The move to make BNG mandatory reaffirms our existing commitment to sustainable land use and environmental stewardship. Through sensitive site selection, and ensuring biodiversity risks and opportunities are assessed early in the planning and transactions process, our assets not only contribute positively towards climate impact, but also significantly towards biodiversity conservation. As custodians of land and as responsible stewards of the environment, this evolving policy allows us to recognise the biodiversity benefits of solar and showcases how our approach aligns with the global push for sustainable practices when it comes to development and land use. 

Access to Financing and Incentives:

In embracing BNG, NextEnergy Capital positions itself to unlock new avenues of financing and incentives. Governments and financial institutions increasingly favour sustainable projects, and our commitment to biodiversity enhancement may open doors to compliance markets and nature-related impact investment. This not only aligns with our mission, but also enhances the financial attractiveness of our solar ventures. 


Long-Term Cost Savings:

BNG implementation involves additional investment, but NextEnergy Capital anticipates potential long-term operational cost savings. By investing in habitat creation and sustainable land management, our assets are poised to benefit from reduced maintenance costs, increased operational efficiency, and a positive impact on overall biodiversity value. 


Adaptation to Evolving Regulatory Environments:

NextEnergy Capital sees BNG as a proactive step toward adapting to evolving regulatory landscapes as well as a mechanism to support the goals and objectives of the Global Biodiversity Framework. Aligning our assets with emerging environmental standards positions us as leaders in the industry, reducing the risk of regulatory hurdles and ensuring our continued competitiveness and resilience. 



Strategic Considerations:

NextEnergy Capital acknowledges the potential for increased project development costs associated with BNG implementation, but the limited impact utility-scale solar has on direct land use means we are able to strategically and effectively managing these challenges.

Our focus on efficiency, innovation, and economies of scale will also help mitigate these costs, in addition to pursuing opportunities to participate in the compliance market to sell excess gains, ensuring that the financial impact is carefully balanced against the long-term benefits and returns for our investors. 

Unlocking Opportunities for Sustainable Returns:

The BNG approach uses habitat as a proxy measure for biodiversity value of a given site. As demonstrated by additional investment in nature improvement, through the implementation of Biodiversity Management Plans and the creation of Exemplar Sites, NextEnergy Capital has been able to generate biodiversity gains that have gone above and beyond planning requirements. NextEnergy Capital embraces mandatory BNG and sees a green horizon of opportunities that align with our mission for a sustainable future. The scale of benefits that could potentially be achieved for biodiversity far outweigh the carefully managed risks associated with implementation. NextEnergy Capital will continue to evolve our sustainable solar investments, where we lead not only in the renewable energy sector but also in long-term natural capital value creation.