Credit Suisse commits $300m to cleantech

The Swiss bank's commitment to Hudson Clean Energy Partners is the third major private equity-backed cleantech initiative announced this week.

Credit Suisse, together with its clients and affiliates, has agreed to commit at least $300 million (€212 million) to Hudson Clean Energy Partners for principal investments in the renewable energy sector. It is the third such commitment or join venture in the cleantech sector announced by private equity firms this week.

Hudson, a New Jersey-based private equity firm, invests throughout the clean energy sector in companies focussed on renewable power, alternative fuels, energy storage and demand-side energy management.

Credit Suisse’s energy investment banking practice chairman and vice chairman of investment banking Americas, John Cavalier, will join Hudson founder Neil Auerbach as co-managing partner of the private equity firm. Auerbach created and ran Goldman Sachs’ US alternative energy investment business before launching Hudson with Goldman colleagues Daniel Gross and Joseph Slamm.

“Credit Suisse has been looking to invest its own capital in renewable energy for a long time, and the firm has been supportive of my desire to transition from investment banking to principal investing in the sector,” said Cavalier in a statement.

The clean energy sector has received significant interest from private equity recently. Yesterday, Swicorp Joussour, an energy-focussed private equity unit owned by financial services firm Swicorp, the Chemical Development Corporation of Saudi Arabia and solar energy company NorSun announced an investment in the construction of a polysilicon plant in the industrial city of Jubail in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Polysilicon is the raw material used in solar power plants.

On Tuesday, Riverstone Holdings, a New York-based energy- and power-focussed private equity firm, joined power company AES in launching $1 billion joint venture AES Solar to develop, own and operate utility-scale solar installations.

“We… believe there is a real untapped opportunity in this attractive asset class,” said Credit Suisse chairman of alternative investments Brian Finn in a statement.

Credit Suisse has $155 billion in alternative managed assets.