BlackRock targets APAC renewables creating new role – exclusive

The fund manager expects to commit at least $5 billion to assets in the region, its newly appointed head of renewable power in Asia-Pacific says.

BlackRock expects renewable assets located in Asia-Pacific to account for more than 50 percent of its renewable energy portfolio in the next few years, Charlie Reid, its newly appointed head of renewable energy in the region, told Infrastructure Investor.

“I would be disappointed if we haven’t committed around $5 billion of capital to the APAC region over the next five years, just given the scale of the opportunity and the pace at which it’s moving,” Reid said during a phone interview.

Reid, who previously worked as a portfolio manager in BlackRock’s Renewable Power investment team in the UK and has been with the fund manager since 2011, has relocated to Sydney to lead a new renewables team focused on the APAC region.

The team is planning to add two more employees in the next few months, he said.

Currently, BlackRock manages two renewable energy funds with a global mandate, but Reid said the firm might consider launching an Asia- or country-focused renewable investment vehicle in the future but declined to disclose more details.

Last year, BlackRock closed its Global Renewable Power II fund on $1.65 billion, after attracting commitments from 67 LPs.

Over the past 18 months, the firm has invested $500 million in 40 solar and wind assets in Japan, Taiwan, and Australia, the firm said.

“Our mandate is relatively broad, and we tend to come into assets anywhere from early-stage development onwards, with most of our capacity being allocated to assets ready to build,” Reid said.

Aside from these three markets, Reid singled out South Korea as a jurisdiction where BlackRock will be looking for possible opportunities.

“It has come to the renewables field late, but is now building out offshore and onshore wind, solar and energy storage facilities very rapidly,” he noted.

Reid said interest in the APAC region has been triggered by the “structural shift” Asia’s energy mix will experience in the next few years, but also because of relatively fewer opportunities in Europe as the market becomes more mature.

“The trend of long-term power-purchase agreements with feed-in tariffs have slowed down in Europe as renewables become cost-competitive, but that trend has continued in Asia, attracting institutional capital in the market,” Reid said.