Equis pivots to integrated renewables with Jara 1 acquisition

The Singapore-based company will also commit over $2bn in recycling infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region over the next two years.

Equis Development has acquired 100 percent of Jara 1, a hybrid solar and battery storage project in South Korea, for $50 million.

Located in Sinan County, Jara 1 comprises a 22MW solar generation project and a 70MWh battery storage system, which will begin construction this month with operations expected to begin in September.

Equis has already expanded Jara 1 into a $250 million project.

“The investment will include the 80MW of solar generation project, 260MWh battery storage (inclusive of Jara 1), transmission lines and a 400MW substation that will facilitate the connection of the additional 300MW of development pipeline,” a spokesman for Equis told Infrastructure Investor.

Equis, in partnership with Sinan County, will also establish a fund that will allow the local community to invest in the project and benefit from its long-term income stream. The commitment follows Equis’s previous investment in a 207MWh battery storage system in August 2019, the firm said in a statement.

In addition to renewables, Equis will also explore other infrastructure sub-sectors, according to the spokesman.

“Equis is developing closed-loop recycling infrastructure ecosystems which will re-purpose and re-use up to 80 percent of waste generated through integrated sorting, crushing, shredding, recycling, incineration, waste-to-energy and landfill infrastructure,” he said. “The company intends to commit over $2 billion into recycling infrastructure in Australia, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan over the next two years.”

Jara 1 is the 19th project Equis has financed since its restructuring, following the sale of Equis Energy (now Vena Energy) to a consortium led by Global Infrastructure Partners in January 2018.

Equis has restructured its entire asset management business under a new entity, Equis Development. The new company focuses on the development of renewables, waste processing and recycling infrastructure assets across developed markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

According to the spokesman, all future capital will be raised through the issue of shares in Equis Development. There will be no new standalone private equity funds. Therefore, ownership will diversify as funds are raised, he said.

The new company covers all stages of a project’s lifecycle from origination, development and engineering to operation and maintenance, asset management and performance opitmisation.

From asset manager to developer

Last June, Infrastructure Investor reported that Equis was dropping all fundraising activities and would be launching an infrastructure development company instead. At the time, it was unclear whether the Equis fund management company would cease to exist once the development company had been established.

“The manager of the earlier Equis funds, called Equis Pte Ltd, still exists and is managing out those funds,” the spokesman explained, referring to Equis Asia Fund I, Equis Asia Fund II and Japan Solar.

“The investment period with respect to all of these funds has expired,” he said, adding that the last investment period, which was for Fund II, expired in February 2019.

According to the spokesman, Equis Funds Group no longer exists but EFG’s website has not yet been updated to reflect the change.

The other 18 projects the new corporate entity has financed so far are across various sub-sectors, including biomass, renewables and battery storage. They include the financing, development and construction of four Japanese biomass projects requiring a total of $1.4 billion, and benefiting from Japan’s 20-year feed-in-tariff regime, the spokesman said.

Equis has also started financing the development of Japanese and Taiwanese utility-scale solar projects and financing solar and battery storage micro-grid systems development in Australia that will be integrated into existing thermal power systems in remote mining communities.