Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Teachers’ pension plan invests $75 million in alternative energy firm

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan this week announced an equity investment worth up to $75 million in BluEarth Renewables Inc. (BluEarth). The Calgary-based private company develops, constructs and operates hydro, wind and solar power projects in North America.

The money is being funneled through Teachers’ Private Capital, the pension plan’s private investment department, and will be used to fund renewable power opportunities.

BluEarth was created by the founders and senior management of Canadian Hydro Developers Inc., and has now raised over $160 million in equity from ARC Financial, Teachers and other investors.

“We are pleased to be partnering with ARC Financial and a proven and experienced management team in the renewable power sector,” said Jane Rowe, Senior Vice-President, Teachers’ Private Capital. “BluEarth’s principals have a strong track record of success and we look forward to supporting their efforts to create another leader in the growing market for renewable power.”

“We are excited to be working once again with both the BluEarth team and Teachers’. With this investment, the team has both the operational expertise and the financial foundation to pursue a growth strategy in the renewable power market,” said Brian Boulanger, an ARC Financial Managing Director.

“With the great support of our investors, Teachers’ and ARC, we are well positioned to acquire and develop renewable power projects and operating assets that may be lacking capital and experience,” said Kent Brown, President & CEO of BluEarth. “With the capital to support our growth strategy and Canada’s most experienced renewable energy team, we have a powerful combination to propel BluEarth into a leading renewable power producer.”

Teachers is one of the largest pension plans in Canada, with more than $96 billion in net assets. The plan was somewhat slow off the mark in developing a responsible investing plan but now includes environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters as risk factors, weighing their potential impact on long-term performance.

"We don’t use non-financial criteria to create “screens” that include or exclude certain investments – we make choices based on anticipated risk-adjusted performance," Teachers says on its website. "Avoiding specific sectors or investments for non-financial reasons could reduce the fund’s long-term investment return."

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