Desjardins Group makes first direct acquisition in green infrastructure in the US

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Canadian ICMIF member Desjardins Financial Security and The Desjardins Group Pension Plan have partnered with Connor, Clark & Lunn Infrastructure to acquire a majority stake in a portfolio of US renewable power assets from EDP Renováveis (EDPR). EDPR has developed four wind farms currently in operation and one construction-stage solar farm.

When all the farms are in operation, they will combine to produce more than 560 megawatts (MW). EDPR will stay on as a minority shareholder and continue to operate and manage the farms. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to be finalised by the end of the year.

The farms have long-term power purchase agreements with electric cooperatives that serve sparsely populated rural areas, generating predictable and stable cash flow for the long-term. The deal will also contribute to Desjardins's matching goals for infrastructure holdings. The farms will ultimately generate enough clean energy to power 140,000 households and displace the equivalent of 280,000 cars worth of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

"Our latest investment in renewable energy is another great example of how Desjardins contributes to communities and supports sustainable prosperity, and how committed we are to green energy," said Guy Cormier, President and CEO of Desjardins Group. "We're so proud of how our organisation worked together through the pandemic to complete this transaction. Every sector is committed to speeding up the energy transition and the pace will only get faster from here."

The farms are the latest addition to Desjardins Group's renewable energy asset portfolio, which is valued at more than CAD 1.1 billion and includes wind farms, solar farms and hydroelectric power plants around the world. Desjardins Group first ventured into the renewable energy sector in Asia in August when it acquired a minority interest in a 376 MW offshore wind farm. When construction is complete in late 2021, the facility will be Taiwan's largest wind farm, powering 380,000 households and displacing 700 kilotons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

Desjardins Group's dedicated infrastructure project team works with Desjardins Global Asset Management to invest in global infrastructure projects with promising risk/reward profiles and the ability to generate stable, long–term cashflow. With over CAD 3 billion in assets under management—40% of which is invested in renewables—Desjardins Group is the second largest private institutional investor in Canada in this popular asset class.

ICMIF members with an interest in responsible/sustainable investments can watch recordings of our series of webinars for sustainable investment leaders which took place between Monday 21 and Wednesday 23 September 2020.

This series of webinars offers an opportunity to hear best-practice from the mutual/cooperative sector and other leaders in the industry to help ICMIF members increase their sustainability engagement and drive forward leadership in all aspects of responsible investing and sustainable finance. These webinars are specifically aimed at investment, finance and sustainability professionals from within the ICMIF membership but they are suitable to all employees at ICMIF member organisations who have an interest in these topics.