The Pipeline: EQT nears €3bn, Low Carbon adds MD, CIP enters new market

EQT Infra VI to head into 2024; Low Carbon poaches Foresight MD; and CIP enters new market for offshore. Welcome to The Pipeline, the start-the-week briefing for our valued subscribers only.

First look

Onwards and upwards: EQT raises initial capital for Fund VI (Source: Getty)

EQT raises €2.8bn but Fund VI is a slower burner
EQT is finding out what it’s like to raise money in 2023. In the Swedish group’s year-end report for 2022 released last week, it revealed €2.8 billion had been raised for EQT Infrastructure VI, which is targeting €20 billion. The vehicle launched last September and has done its first deal in December, according to market sources.

In EQT’s 2022 report, the firm said “the majority of fundraising is expected to be concluded in 2023,” meaning that we’ll likely not see a final close until at least Q1 2024. Compare that with the efforts of EQT Infrastructure V, which was launched in July 2020 and saw “active fundraising” concluded on about €15 billion in April 2021, before a final €15.7 billion close was recorded in November 2021.

With €2.8 billion raised so far, it’s hardly as though the brakes are being put on, but in 2023, maybe engines are running a little slower for today’s mega-funds.

After €290m close, no rest for Re:cap
Swiss renewables manager Re:cap Global Investors has reached a €290 million final close on its RE Infrastructure Opportunities fund, and is already looking ahead to its next vehicle.

Re:cap, which teamed up with German asset manager FP Investment Partners to launch the fund, exceeded its original €250 million target, it said in a statement. It has gone on to invest in solar and wind projects across Western and Northern Europe.

There’s no resting for the group, though, with the firm revealing it would be launching what would be its fifth fund. While it did not disclose a target, Re:cap stated it is eyeing a first close in the first half of this year. As is commonplace with renewables GPs today, the focus is no longer just wind and solar, but also battery storage and EV charging, as well as more renewables greenfield development.

What was that about dwindling renewable returns?

Norwegian natural gas gets a nice, new name
This month Statkraft, which is majority-owned by the Norwegian state, unveiled plans to deliver 2GW of green hydrogen electrolysers to Norway by 2030.

The announcement’s reception was not uniformly positive as a former Norwegian minister and current deputy leader of opposition party Senterpartiet, Ola Borten Moe, mentioned just how much energy is lost in creating and utilising hydrogen.

Stating that running a turbine on blue hydrogen means vast losses of energy are involved in producing it, Moe questioned the sense of a project that he believes would ultimately see Norway lose power.

“[By] establishing 2GW electrolysis of hydrogen in Norway, it corresponds to an energy amount of about 17.5TWh, or about 12-13 percent of all power production in Norway. With 75 percent energy loss, it is 14TWh, or 10 percent of all Norwegian power production right in the toilet. It is, by my discretion, light years away from being justifiable or sensible. We need all the energy we have and achieve far more sensible things than firing the crow.”

After that stinging rebuke, some at Statkraft might be feeling flushed.

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Who’s hiring

Low Carbon poaches Foresight MD
Renewables-focused asset manager Low Carbon has appointed Steven Hughes as managing director, portfolio management, where he will oversee construction and operation of the firm’s growing renewable energy portfolio.

Hughes joins from Foresight Group where he was previously a managing director and head of portfolio, a role with responsibility for managing both operational and under-construction renewable assets in the wind, solar and bioenergy sectors in Europe and Australia, worth more than £9 billion ($11.2 billion; €10.3 billion).

Prior to his time at Foresight, Hughes was global director of asset management and support services at Renewable Energy Systems and worked at GE Power.

Hughes will be based in Low Carbon’s London office. His appointment follows announcements by the firm in late 2022 that it would construct three large-scale solar farms in the UK, targeting 1GW of capacity; four solar farms in the Netherlands; and 1GW of onshore wind in Romania. Also late last year, the fund manager hired Ed Shelton as managing director for investments in North America.

Deals

Navigating waters: CIP enters Ireland in new market drive (Source: Getty)

CIP enters Irish offshore wind market
Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners has snapped up a 50 percent stake in an offshore wind portfolio in Ireland, acquiring the stake via Copenhagen Infrastructure IV.

The deal will see Norwegian-based renewable energy developer Statkraft retain its remaining 50 percent stake in the wind portfolio, with CIP and Statkraft – which already has a significant presence in Ireland – expecting to invest roughly €4 billion in Ireland’s offshore wind market by 2030.

The portfolio, which includes four early- to mid-stage projects, with an expected capacity of 2.2GW off Ireland’s east and southeast coast, should be operational in 2028. Among them is 500MW project North Irish Sea Array I, which in 2023 will be eligible to bid into the country’s first Offshore Renewable Electricity Support Scheme auction.

No strangers to offshore wind, CIP was most recently one of the winners – alongside Equinor, RWE, Ocean Winds and Invenergy – in California’s offshore wind auction.


Today’s letter was prepared by Zak Bentley.Daniel KempTharshini Ashokan,Isabel O’Brien and Anne-Louise Stranne Petersen also contributed.