Investment firm Blackstone has formed a new portfolio company that will finance and own distributed energy assets focused on commercial, industrial and institutional customers.
GSO Capital Partners, Blackstone’s credit investment platform, will initially commit US$250 million to fund ClearGen, which will offer capital alongside companies that develop and operate distributed infrastructure such as renewable energy with battery storage, distributed generation, microgrids and green transportation. Blackstone has very deep pockets, and this figure could be multiplied many times over as the fund stabilizes.
Blackstone said the market of on-site renewable projects in the commercial and industrial sector (C&I) is growing rapidly as consumers are faced with rising energy costs, service outages caused by extreme weather and a desire to improve the sustainability of their operations.
“Energy consumers face a range of challenges, including cost and risk management and the reliability of supply that affects critical operations. When you combine these with a broad focus on decarbonisation, there is a rapidly growing need for ClearGen’s capital and expertise,” said George Plattenburg, who has been named co-founder and CEO of the company.
Collin Franceschi, a former Duke Energy executive, will serve as co-founder and chief development officer. “We are looking forward to partnerships with distributed generation developers and technology companies, and collaboratively developing flexible solutions to improve financing alternatives and increase adoption,” he said.
Formation of ClearGen comes after Blackstone earlier this year led a US$850 million recapitalisation of Altus Power America to help the distributed generation solar firm build its C&I portfolio. The Connecticut-based company aims to boost its asset portfolio to more than US$1 billion through the financing.