Carlyle investments to feature ‘smarter’ infra upgrades from Schneider

Co-head of US firm’s infrastructure group says it sees value in improving assets’ efficiency and connectivity.

French energy management company Schneider Electric has agreed to a partnership with The Carlyle Group to provide sustainability and automation upgrades to infrastructure projects.

Andrew Marino, co-head of the US private equity firm’s Global Infrastructure Opportunity Fund, said the move was both an efficiency effort and a means of ensuring that current and future investments are connected to an increasingly digital world.

“In every deal we do, we’re going to need to bring a new level of energy management, automation and efficiency to projects,” he told Infrastructure Investor. “Government entities are not only encouraging, but even requiring a greater standard of renewable energy in delivering their projects.”

In a statement, Carlyle announced that it had created a joint venture with Schneider called AlphaStruxure that will manage the development of “smarter infrastructure projects”. Marino said Schneider would begin work on recent investments Carlyle has announced. Among these are the redevelopment and management of New York’s JFK Airport Terminal One and a crude oil export terminal in Texas.

“Schneider is a leading innovator that can help us think about how to design those projects in an appropriate way,” Marino said. At JFK, he explained, Carlyle and Schneider would develop a “variety of subsystems”, including microgrids that would “increase the overall cash flow” of the terminal.

“In some cases, it’s putting in power systems like microgrids,” he said. “In some cases, it’s bringing new software solutions.” He added that Carlyle had not started deploying capital for the JFK redevelopment, but said an announcement about progress on the project would be made over the coming weeks.

Marino declined to comment on Carlyle’s fundraising efforts, including the Global Infrastructure Opportunity Fund. According to Infrastructure Investor data, the vehicle, which was launched in 2016, is seeking to raise $2.5 billion and has secured $1.3 billion in commitments.

The partnership with Schneider expands upon a 2017 agreement in which Carlyle agreed to finance microgrid developments alongside the energy management company. Marino said the two sides are in the late stage on a number of projects resulting from that partnership.