The Green Investment Group, formerly belonging to the UK Government but now owned by Macquarie Capital, has formally launched in North America with two initiatives, including the launch of Candela Renewables for solar development and the financial close of the 200 megawatt (MW) Canadian Breaks onshore wind farm in Texas.
Formerly known as the Green Investment Bank when it was owned by the UK Government, it was renamed to Green Investment Group when it was acquired by Australian bank Macquarie Group for £2.3 billion in mid-2017. Concern was raised by the UK’s National Audit Office at the end of 2017 regarding the sale and whether or not Macquarie would maintain the Group’s commitment to green financing beyond the first three years — an oversight in the terms of the sale.
Whether or not recent activity is proof of Macquarie Group’s intention to continue the GIG’s role in the green finance sector, it is certainly making its mark known, earlier this year acquiring 25% interest in the 210 MW Westermost Rough offshore wind farm from Marubeni Corporation.
The Green Investment Group’s launch into North America is hopefully another proof in Macquarie’s commitment to green financing, as the GIG seeks to focus on asset creation in the North American renewables sector, principal investment, and financing solutions across the entire project lifespan.
“The launch of the Green Investment Group in North America focuses our long-term strategic commitment to the renewable energy sector and strengthens our ability to develop and construct green energy projects in the region,” said Nick Butcher, Global Co-Head of Infrastructure and Energy for Macquarie Capital. “Since 2010, GIG and Macquarie Capital have led investment in green energy projects valued at more than $20 billion.”
The launch into North America was accompanied by two specific initiatives the GIG will sponsor, including the launch of Candela Renewables, an independent developer of utility-scale solar and storage power projects formed by Brian Kunz and Nik Novograd, who worked together at NextLight Renewable Power, a company that Brian co-founded in 2008. Candela will develop assets exclusively for the Green Investment Group, backed by a team of industry leaders which have collectively created a pipeline of 26 projects across six US states with PPAs that are in operation, under construction, or final development, and that provide over 4.1 gigawatts (GW).
“We’re delighted to back the Candela team, who have the proven ability to originate new large-scale solar projects, and the expertise and industry relationships to ensure their commercial success,” said Chris Archer, Head of Green Energy Americas for Macquarie Capital. “The arrangement, targeting the creation of more than 1 GW in new solar projects, enables us to deploy capital to utility-scale solar developments in the US, leveraging our balance sheet, global scale and capability.”
In addition to the launch of Candela Renewables, the GIG also successfully developed, commercialized, and reached financial close on the 200 MW Canadian Breaks onshore wind farm which will boast Siemens Gamesa wind turbines and be built in Oldham and Deaf Smith Counties, Texas. Macquarie Capital provided 100% of the sponsor equity for the project and also acted as financial advisor and led the structuring of an energy hedge, tax equity, and debt financing — National Australia Bank, and Siemens Financial Services provided debt financing.
“Canadian Breaks is the first US greenfield wind project we have developed from inception and is the only deal to close in Texas’s panhandle since 2016,” explained Thomas Houle, Managing Director at Macquarie Capital who led the project’s development. “The project demonstrates our ability to manage complex processes and work collaboratively with top-tier counterparties and construction partners.”