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Partners Group backs 800MW California plant

Sentinel Energy Center is the firm’s third investment in a US gas-fired facility.

Swiss-based Partners Group has acquired a 25 percent stake in Sentinel Energy Centre, an 800 megawatt (MW) natural gas-fired power generation facility, from US developer Competitive Power Ventures (CPV).

CPV will continue to provide asset management services to the project.

The plant’s other equity owners are Voltage Finance, owned by a group of private investors. Voltage acquired a 25 percent stake in Sentinel in October 2013, five months after the plant went online.

The remaining 50 percent will continue to be held by Diamond Generating Corporation and affiliates, units of Mitsubishi.

“Sentinel is a highly flexible resource perfectly situated within a market that has a growing need for this flexibility,” said Todd Bright, managing director and head of Americas private infrastructure at Partners Group, in a statement. “It is a strong complement to the state of California’s overarching goal to increase the integration of renewable energy sources.”

Located in the Los Angeles Basin, the simple-cycle, natural gas-fired facility is the largest of its kind in the world, according to the statement. Aside from being able to power 640,000 homes, Sentinel also has the flexible capacity to start and stop on demand in response to fluctuations in supply from intermittent renewable electricity sources such as wind and solar.

Sentinel is Partners Group’s third investment in a US natural gas plant. In mid-2012, the firm was the sole mezzanine investor in a new-build 758MW combined cycle gas turbine power plant in Temple, Texas. It exited the investment last March. 

In early 2014, Partners Group invested in the acquisition of an 856MW gas-fired cogeneration facility in the greater Houston area, the firm said in its statement without naming the size of the investment nor the name of the facility. A firm spokesperson declined to comment.

However, reports identify the facility as Channelview, a cogeneration facility Energy Investors Funds – now owned by Ares Management – acquired from Global Infrastructure Partners and Fortistar in January 2014, a transaction in which Partners Group was a co-investor.

While Partners Group invests across the infrastructure sector, power generation and energy are key areas of focus in the US and South America. For that reason, the firm opened an office in Houston in August 2014.

Other energy investments in the region include a majority stake in Mexico’s Fermaca, a natural gas pipeline owner and operator.