A Blackstone company has committed microgrid financing of up to $500 million for GreenStruxure, a joint venture between Schneider Electric and Huck Capital that develops modular, energy-as-a-service microgrids for commercial and industrial (C&I), and governmental medium-sized buildings.
The agreement with Blackstone’s ClearGen allows GreenStruxure to “go bigger and faster” in developing projects, Steve McBee, Huck Capital CEO, said May 25. Customers in the underserved C&I market will benefit from turnkey, renewable energy microgrids that will give them the energy outcomes they need to meet business and sustainability goals without upfront capital outlays and no operational risks, the companies said.
Join Clark Wiedetz of GreenStruxure for a thought-provoking panel discussion, “How Microgrids Will Change the Way We Make, Deliver and Use Energy,” at 1 p.m., June 3, during Microgrid 2021: The World Awakens to Microgrids. Registration is free.
Demand for on-site renewable energy is growing, driven by rising energy costs, increased sustainability goals and power outages caused by extreme weather and natural disasters, according to the companies.
However, building on-site microgrids takes capital that building owners and operators may not be able to spend.
Microgrid financing model
The solution provided by GreenStruxure and ClearGen makes decarbonized, on-site energy simple and accessible for C&I customers, according to the companies.
Through the energy-as-a-service model, a company like GreenStruxure builds and finances a microgrid for a customer. The customer avoids upfront costs and the risks that go with building and operating a microgrid. The customer pays for the project over time.
Energy transition accelerates
The partnership between GreenStruxure and ClearGen is another sign the energy transition is accelerating rapidly, according to Annette Clayton, Schneider Electric North America CEO and president.
Generally, the US power sector is moving away from large, centralized power plants to a decentralized system that features on-site renewable energy and a growing number of microgrids.
The shift is providing opportunities for investors.
Blackstone, a private equity company, started ClearGen in September to finance and own distributed and sustainable energy infrastructure focused on the C&I, institutional and government markets.
Blackstone funds started with an initial $250 million commitment to ClearGen.
ClearGen works with equipment manufacturers, developers and energy service companies. The company invests in microgrids, distributed generation, renewable energy combined with battery storage, energy efficiency, green transportation, and combined heat and power plants.
GreenStruxure was started about a month before ClearGen and a year after Schneider Electric teamed up with the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, to form AlphaStruxure, which builds microgrids for airports, ports and other large infrastructure and C&I facilities.
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