One of the world's biggest investment firms just made a $3 billion renewable energy investment



Blackstone, one of the largest financial firms in the world -- with holdings worth $731 billion -- has just made a massive $3 billion commitment to renewable energy.


The funds are going into Invenergy Renewables Holdings, which bills itself as the largest private renewable energy company in North America.


In a statement, the company said that Blackstone's big ole check would be used to accelerate its development activities.


What's more, the $3 billion that Blackstone is putting in won't change the fact that Invenergy will still remain majority owned by its management and the Canadian investment organization Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.


Invenergy Renewables has over 175 projects totaling nearly 25 gigawatts across four continents that can power the equivalent of 8.5 million homes.

Through its work with utilities, banks, and commercial and industrial customers, the company's projects have offset approximately 167 million tons of carbon dioxide.


Through its independent power business and its transmission development business, Invenergy Transmission, the company is working on dealing with the generation of renewable power and ensuring its reliable distribution.


Some of its new projects include are among the largest in the United States and will be delivering nearly 3 gigawatts of renewable power by 2023.

“Blackstone is committed to investing behind the energy transition and Invenergy is the clear independent leader in the renewable energy sector," said Sean Klimczak, Global Head of Infrastructure at Blackstone, in a statement.


In a little over two years Blackstone has committed $13 billion to investments that the financial services firm says "are consistent with" the energy transmission and the investment firm has said it will reduce carbon emissions in its portfolio companies by 15% within the first three years of ownership -- where Blackstone has control over energy usage.


Blackstone's big push into renewable energy comes as the investment firm tries to shed a history of deep ties to fossil fuel production. The private equity giant and its investing peers have long propped up and profited from the fossil fuel business.


An October report in The New York Times revealed that the private equity industry led by firms like Blackstone have invested at least $1.1 trillion into the energy sector, according to data from the Private Equity Stakeholder Project.


By comparison those firms invested only 12 percent of the capital intended for the energy sector into renewable power like solar or wind.


While the pace of those investments have accelerated recently -- given the steep declines in prices and better returns offered by renewable energy projects -- about 80 percent of these firms investments are tied up in fossil fuel assets.


Blackstone, in particular, has historical ties to troubled fossil fuel projects like Tallgrass Energy in Louisiana and the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (through its ownership stake in Energy Transfer Partners).


“You see oil majors feeling the heat,” Alyssa Giachino of the Private Equity Stakeholder Project, told The New York Times. “But private equity is quietly picking up the dregs, perpetuating operations of the least desirable assets.”


Still, longtime investors in Invenergy CDDPQ were bullish on the company's prospects and Blackstone's involvement.


“For nearly a decade, we have worked alongside Invenergy to build a key global player in the energy transition, in the United States and around the world. Michael Polsky, Jim Murphy and their team raise the bar when it comes to developing and operating sustainable energy solutions, making their company a true innovator and leader in its field," Emmanuel Jaclot, Executive Vice President and Head of Infrastructure at CDPQ said in a statement. "We are delighted to welcome our long-term partner Blackstone as a new investor, combining our global reach and resources to help position Invenergy for continued growth.”


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