BNP raises €437m for clean energy fund

The fund attracted cornerstone commitments from Dutch pensions Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn and Pensioenfonds Grafische Bedrijven.

BNP Paribas has reached a final close on €437 million for its European clean energy infrastructure-focused fund, the firm said in a statement.

BNP Paribas Clean Energy Partners attracted the commitments from insurers, pensions and local authorities in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, UK Sweden, Asia and Japan.

“Investors have recognised that the outlook for clean energy in Europe is positive, offering good potential for growth,” Joost Bergsma, the fund’s chief executive, said in the statement.

The fund reached a first close in September 2009 on €158 million, when it was known as the Fortis Investments Clean Energy Infrastructure Fund. Since then, the operations of Fortis Investments were merged with BNP Paribas Investment Partners, the asset management arm of French Bank BNP Paribas.

Investors have recognised that the outlook for clean energy in Europe is positive, offering good potential for growth.

Joost Bergsma

The fund disclosed a total fundraising target of €450 million at the time of the first close. At a total size of €437 million, though, it still ranks among the largest infrastructure funds dedicated specifically to clean energy investments across Europe, BNP said in a statement.

The fund will invest in around 20 assets with “proven” clean energy technologies such as on-shore wind, small-scale hydroelectric, solar biomass power plants. Biomass is a way of generating power from plants and other organic materials.

BNP Paribas Clean Energy Partners has already begun investing. In August the firm bought a 20-megawatt wind farm in Ireland’s Laois County for an undisclosed amount. In October the firm reached financial close on a €93.5 million loan for the construction of a 30-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant by in the north-west region of Italy.

Cornerstone investors in BNP Paribas Clean Energy partners include Dutch pension funds Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn and Pensioenfonds Grafische Bedrijven. BNP Paribas Fortis, formerly Fortis Bank, provided an investment of €50 million, according to a previous statement.