Wind is picking up in private equity: Lightrock and Verdane have made note-worthy deals in the ‘picks and shovels’ of the wind power generation sector.
Lightrock has led a $30 million funding round into wind turbine maintenance company Aerones. The Latvian company uses robots to service wind turbines, “reducing costs and inefficiencies in the global wind industry”, Lightrock principal Nigel McCleave said in a press release from Aerones. Lightrock will measure its impact in terms of avoided emissions and quantities of active maintenance robots, inspections, repairs, cleanings and other services.
Lightrock’s investment comes out of its €860 million climate fund, which closed in October 2022 and invests in Europe and North America. Other investors include the Haniel family office, Blume Equity – another growth equity impact fund – Change Ventures, Metaplanet, Pace Ventures, Future Positive Capital and individual investor Mantas Mikuckas, a co-founder of circular economy app Vinted.
Meanwhile, Oslo-headquartered asset manager Verdane has deployed new capital into wind turbine manufacturer Polytech via its 2020 multi-asset continuation fund. Verdane initially invested in the asset in 2016 through its flagship growth strategy, then injected new capital into the fund four years later via the 2020 secondaries fund.
Verdane has now made a further investment in Polytech from the 2020 fund – and brought asset manager FSN Capital onboard as a co-investor. While this is not an explicitly ‘impact’ deal, it is a further example of energy transition-related investments fuelling the secondaries market. Polytech’s revenues declined in 2021 and 2022 as pandemic-related supply chain shocks slowed down the completion of development projects. But with high demand for wind farm development, Verdane expects Polytech’s revenues to recover by 2024, a source familiar with the firm told New Private Markets.
Partners Capital, an asset manager that invests in private funds, would likely approve: businesses supplying or servicing “the largest growth sectors… directly on the major thoroughfares of the energy transition map” are “the best place [in energy transition finance] for buyout firms and growth equity investors”, according to the firm’s 2022 energy transition investing framework.