‘The more scale the better’ as SUSI launches new Asian renewables platform

Head of Asia Wymen Chan walks us through the GP’s plans in what is the fourth transaction for SUSI’s Asia Energy Transition Fund.

Swiss fund manager SUSI Partners has launched a utility-scale renewable energy platform in Asia via its Asia Energy Transition Fund.

The platform, focused on the greenfield development of solar PV, wind and hydro projects in Southeast Asia, is a joint venture between the firm and Singapore-headquartered renewables developer Pacific Impact Development.

SUSI Partners managing director and head of Asia Wymen Chan, who also heads the fund, told Infrastructure Investor that $30 million had been invested in the platform through the SAETF so far, as part of the first phase of investment.

“We are looking to invest more as projects reach construction phase. Within fund limits we have some constraints but, ultimately, the more scale we get out of this platform the better, and it may not be limited to this current fund,” Chan said.

SAETF will fund the majority of the development costs for the platform’s pipeline of projects. Of these, the focus over the next six months will be three projects in the most advanced stage of development, including a Cambodian wind project, a Vietnamese wind project, and a solar project in the Philippines. A fourth project – a run-of-river hydro project in Indonesia – is also being considered.

“We are focused on selecting high-quality projects. They’re going through stringent qualifying criteria at this point,” Chan said. “That’s mostly what the focus is going to be for the platform over the next 12 months, really putting projects through rigorous selection criteria and pushing them into the development phase, where we start spending significant capital.

“The [current pipeline of projects] has different development timelines for the different types of technology [involved]. We hope to be able to achieve the start of construction for at least two of these projects in the next two years.”

SAETF, which is focused on the energy transition in Southeast Asia, was launched in September 2019 and reached an $81 million first close in May 2021. The firm is aiming to reach a final close for the fund in May, with a fund target of $200 million.

In October 2021, the fund marked its second investment with a deal to invest in microgrids across the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. The latest deal is the fourth transaction for the fund and its first in utility-scale renewable projects in the region.

“The investment premise [for SAETF] has always hinged on the ability to achieve scale. With utility-scale projects, obviously, that’s much easier, you achieve the economies of scale with a single project in most cases, versus projects in distributed generation where you struggle to achieve a minimum size,” Chan added.

“This was always a focus for the fund and we’ve found the right partner, in this case, to execute our development plans.”