Onshore wind veteran raises $100m to launch Bluestar Energy

Former Orsted Onshore CEO Declan Flanagan and a number of his former Orsted colleagues have launched a new renewables platform to invest in greenfield opportunities related to the energy transition.

Declan Flanagan, a long-time onshore wind executive who most recently served as the chief executive officer of Ørsted Onshore, has raised $100 million in initial capital to launch Bluestar Energy, a renewable energy investment platform. Two major contributors to the sum include S2G Ventures and Great Bay Renewables, though Bluestar declined to comment on the size of its investments and the breakdown of overall equity. Flanagan remains the controlling shareholder and owner.

What Bluestar made clear, however, is that this capital was not put towards a specific fund, as the company maintains that while it may pursue a fund model down the line, it is currently structured as a holding company with a number of controlled subsidiaries.

Another feature of the firm’s structure will be its divisional split in two parts: Nova Clean Energy and Bluestar Energy Australia. The former will be North America-based and pursue M&A in wind, solar and storage, as well as seek greenfield development opportunities. The latter is based in and focused on Australia, having already entered the wind power market there and looking to expand into solar and storage.

Despite these two regional distinctions for the company, its strategy will be trifold, incorporating Europe, too. The firm seeks to acquire ownership or controlling equity in businesses across the three geographies, with initial focus on project development capital. Bluestar plans to evaluate opportunities for construction and operating capital at a later, undisclosed time.

Flanagan has built a team to help him roll this vision out. His partnerships with S2G Ventures and Great Bay Renewables have resulted in the additions of Aaron Rudberg, chief operating officer of S2G, and Frank Getman, chief executive of Great Bay, to Bluestar’s board of directors, where Senan Murphy, former chief financial officer of wind power provider Airtricity, currently sits as a non-executive. Also on the board is company president Dennis Meany, former president of Lincoln Clean Energy.

Outside of the board, Bluestar has hired Dylan Reeves, former chief commercial and product officer of onshore wind services at GE Renewable Energy, as the head of project delivery; Cortney Zaret, former financial controller at Orsted Onshore, as head of accounting and administration; and Jenn Goodwillie, former VP at Orsted Onshore, as head of development at Nova Clean Energy.

The team will be entering a market that is becoming ever-the-more crowded. This year has been a banner year for impact investing, with renewables specifically seeing an unprecedented influx of capital enter the market. Flanagan maintained in a press release on the firm’s launch that despite that influx of capital, “a scarcity remains of the right kind of capital for new development platforms and new projects. Our vision is to be one of the largest global investors of early-stage development capital. We have structured Bluestar as a portfolio of distinct regional platforms based on the conviction that successful project development is a very local business”.

When asked to expand on what niche that “right kind of capital” fell into, Bluestar declined to comment.