Exclusive: SUSI eyes Q1 2017 first close for storage fund

The Swiss firm has funded two projects totalling 12MW through the vehicle, which it is currently raising with a €250m target.

SUSI Partners is seeking to a first close on its energy storage fund around Q1 next year, Asif Rafique, managing director for energy storage at the firm, told Infrastructure Investor.

Rafique was speaking after sealing its maiden investment through the Energy Storage Fund by backing two assets in Canada. He said the first close would depend on the interests of the LPs but would normally be less than half the final close, targeted to be up to €250 million.

The two projects have a cumulative capacity of 12MW and SUSI’s investment totalled around €5 million. Rafique said that the lead capital provider on the projects were the US-based CJF Capital. Located in Ontario, the projects were awarded to US-based developer Convergent Energy and Power through a 2014 tender.

Rafique said the fund is targeting investments across the globe and is looking at the “most investable projects.” He added that there is a strong interest from investors in the asset class.

“It is a new asset class and everyone is trying to increase their understanding in and around it,” he said. “Everybody appreciates the pivotal role it will play in the energy landscape going forward. The conversations we've had on the fundraising side have all been very positive.”

The transaction marks the fund’s first investment since it was launched earlier this year. Open to investors until the end of 2017, the fund reached a cornerstone closing in this month, which Rafique said allowed the investment in Canada to be financed.

SUSI says it has a pipeline of projects representing over 400MWh of storage capacity. In March, the fund agreed a MoU to provide up to €50 million in equity to grid-scale storage projects undertaken by French utility ENGIE.

The fund’s debut investment comes just three weeks after SUSI closed its third renewable energy fund on €380 million.