GEF invests $30m in UPC Renewables China

The investment in the independent renewable energy producer will be dedicated to the development of wind power in China.

Global Environment Fund (GEF), a US-headquartered environment- and cleantech-focused investment firm, has invested $30 million in UPC Renewables China Holdings, which has a specific focus on wind energy development in China. The stake acquired was not disclosed.

The investment gives GEF two seats on the company’s board of directors.

UPC Renewables is a global energy developer with operations in Asia, North Africa and Europe. The company develops, owns and operates wind farms and solar facilities. It was founded by the UPC Group in 2006 to consolidate UPC’s business outside North America. In all, UPC Renewables has more than 2,300MW of wind and solar projects under development in Asia, Europe and North Africa. 

GEF’s investment in UPC Renewables China will be used to develop wind power in China, where UPC has 150MW in construction and more than 3GW of pipeline projects. Since 2006, the wind energy market has gone from a “standing start” to being one of the largest in the world, Brian Caffyn, chief executive officer and chairman of UPC, said in a statement. The company expects to see sustained long term growth in the wind energy market in China and with support from GEF, is looking to participate fully in the market, he added.

Headquartered in Chevy Chase, Maryland, GEF invests in clean technology, energy efficiency and timberland in emerging markets. The firm made the investment from the Global Environment Emerging Markets Fund (GEEMF) III, a $327 million fund, George McPherson, a managing director at GEF, told PEI Asia.

In November 2009, GEF invested $46.3 million for a 29.99 percent stake in Greenko, an Indian power producer focused on the generation of renewable energy.

In Asia, GEF also manages the South Asia Clean Energy Fund (SACEF), which is targeting commitments of $200 million and has raised $100 million as of November 2009. SACEF is focused on investments in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. The fund will invest in the same sectors as GEEMF III, but in smaller, less mature companies.

Established in 1990, GEF manages $1 billion in private equity investments.