Riverstone, Carlyle in power plant play

The two firms’ joint venture has sold one power plant in the Topaz Power Group for $1.14bn to a British buyer while acquiring the remaining shares of the other seven plants.

Carlyle/Riverstone Global Energy and Power Fund II has acquired the remaining 50 percent stake in Topaz Power Group from its partner Sempra Energy. In addition, the firms have sold one of the plants in the group, Coleto Creek Power in Texas, to Britain’s International Power for $1.14 billion (€895 million).

The fund, a $1.1 billion joint venture of Riverstone Holdings and The Carlyle Group, now wholly owns all seven of the remaining natural gas and oil-fired Texas power plants owned by Topaz. The company was set up in July 2004 by Riverstone and Sempra Generation, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, in order to purchase ten power plants for $430 million. Since that time Topaz has sold three facilities including the 632-megawatt coal-fired Coleto Creek power plant.

Of the remaining seven plants still owned by the company only three remain in operation: Barney M. Davis, a 682-MW natural gas fueled plant in Corpus Christi; the Laredo Power Station, a 178-MW power plant in Laredo and the La Palma Power Station, a 255-MW located in San Benito. The remaining plants have been idled and shut down.

“We’re reviewing what we’re going to do with the assets, some of them may be repowered, and some may be disposed of,” said Riverstone managing partner Michael Hoffman. He added that the status of the currently operational plants are also being reviewed.

Sempra had said last December that it was contemplating the sale or refinancing of all of its power assets in Texas due to the rising market value of coal-fired plants. The San Diego-based company still operates and maintains a fleet of power plants in the Western US market.