Greenbacker Capital Announces Investment in Clear Energy Hydro, Owner-Operator of Hydroelectric Generating Facilities Across the State of New York
Financing Facility to Fund Additional Hydropower Acquisitions, Infrastructure Optimization and Modernization
New York, N.Y., Greenbacker Capital Management, LLC (“Greenbacker Capital” or “Greenbacker”), announced today that, through an affiliated fund (the “Fund”), it has made a strategic investment in an affiliate of Clear Energy Hydro, an owner-operator of hydroelectric power generation facilities focused primarily on the New York Community Distributed Generation (CDG) market. The investment is a signal of Greenbacker’s commitment to supporting the increased adoption of hydropower as an alternative to fossil fuel generation, as well as its focus on clean energy development in New York State.
The transaction was the fourth investment for the Fund, which was established in 2020 to provide flexible capital to small- and medium-size renewable energy infrastructure companies that are focused on developing distributed power facilities serving high-value markets across the United States. The Fund leverages Greenbacker Capital’s extensive experience and expertise in financing, engineering and operations.
The Fund’s Managing Director and Principal Benjamin Baker said, “Hydropower is a crucial part of the renewable energy landscape across the United States, and Greenbacker is proud to support it. We believe that Clear Energy Hydro, with its strong management team and unique ability to optimize assets through both physical rehabilitation and revenue model enhancement, will be an important player in the market. We look forward to working with the Clear Energy Hydro team towards our mutual success.”
Hydroelectric power generates about 80 GW of electricity across the country, or about 7% of total U.S. generating capacity. Ownership of small hydro facilities – defined as facilities with less than 10 MW in generating capacity – is highly fragmented. This investment and others in hydropower infrastructure are rooted in Greenbacker’s belief – shared with Clear Energy Hydro – that with the support of purposeful capital partners, this form of renewable energy represents a significant untapped opportunity for expanding sources of green energy across the country. New York State specifically has set out an aggressive plan to combat climate change and has implemented financial programs such as the Value of Distributed Energy Resources tariff to spur investment in CDG assets, including hydroelectric generation. As such, Clear Energy’s portfolio will benefit from a highly attractive regulatory regime.
Headquartered in the Denver area and led by partners Matthew Wenger and Michael Prendergast, Clear Energy Hydro acquires existing hydropower facilities and invests in their modernization. The company currently owns three facilities in New York and plans to use the proceeds from the Greenbacker loan to modernize those stations, as well as to acquire additional plants in the state.
Mr. Prendergast said, “In Greenbacker, we are very pleased to have found an investor who believes in our mission. Moreover, with Greenbacker, we have gained a strategic partner whose expertise in the financing, engineering and operational aspects of renewable energy infrastructure will be an asset that pays dividends for us in the future as we identify new acquisition targets and continue to optimize the performance of our current assets.”