New York Common commits $100m to cleantech fund

Hudson Clean Energy Partners has scored some big commitments from pensions, including $400m from Danish pension ATP.

The $126 billion New York State Common Retirement System has committed $100 million to Hudson Clean Energy Partners, which is targeting $1 billion for its debut fund.

Hudson, founded by former Goldman Sachs’ US alternative energy chief Neil Auerbach, invests in renewable power, alternative fuels, energy storage and programmes to control energy demand during peak periods.

The investment is part of New York Common’s “Green Strategic Investment Program”, a $500 million initiative started last year to invest in renewable energy and clean technology. The initiative has a three-year time frame.

“Clean technology and renewable energy have become increasingly profitable,” Thomas DiNapoli, New York’s comptroller who leads the pension, said when the cleantech initiative was launched. “It’s not just about doing good for the environment, going green is good for the bottom line, too.”

New York Common has invested $40 million in private equity funds focused on renewable energy and cleantech, and has $440 million in commitments to funds in which cleantech is part of the overall strategy. The pension has invested in cleantech since 2005, according to pension documents.

Hudson has attracted capital from some big organisations, including a $400 million commitment from Danish pension giant ATP in March, and $300 million from Credit Suisse.

Other institutional investors have explored the cleantech space. In October, the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions invested $10 million in Angeleno Investors III, which is raising $250 million for investments in alternative energy and cleantech. The African Development Bank earlier this year made a ZAR 100 million commitment to the Evolution One Fund, which invests in clean energy and sustainable technology in southern Africa to fight climate change.