Swiss VC sells Spanish wind farm in Sfr100m deal

Aravis Energy, a Zurich-based venture capital firm, has sold LuciaWind, a Spanish wind farm operator, to Swiss utility EBM. The deal is illustrative of the trend for entrepreneurs and VC firms to roll up renewable energy plants into portfolios they can sell to utilities and large infrastructure funds.

Aravis Energy, a Swiss venture capital firm, has sold LuciaWind, owner of a 42-megawatt wind farm in Spain, to EBM, the Swiss utility company. In a statement, Aravis said the deal was worth “over Sfr100 million” (€71 million; $90 million). 

The farm, which is based on Andalucia’s Atlantic coast, has 14 3-megawatt wind turbines supplying electricity to 22,000 Swiss households. 

Oliver Thalmann, Aravis’ managing partner, said he believed there was increasing demand in the Swiss energy market for electricity from European wind and solar energy farms. “There are interesting projects – particularly in countries such as Italy and Spain – which could be of significance for Swiss utility companies wishing to maintain a balanced and sustainable energy mix,” he said in the statement.

Aravis, which is based in Zurich, claims to be “the first Swiss venture capital firm to focus on the development and realisation of projects in the renewable energies sector”. Founded in 2008, its focus is on projects and power plants such as wind farms, solar parks and photovoltaic plants.

Aravis said it expected to realise other wind and solar energy projects where the output power would exceed 100 megawatts.

The deal is in keeping with a trend identified in the February 2010 issue of Infrastructure Investor, in which entrepreneurs and venture capital firms have been rolling up wind and solar farms into sizeable portfolios that they can then sell onto financial and strategic buyers. This trend has brought renewable energy assets onto the radar of the larger infrastructure funds for the first time.