Essential Power, the U.S. power platform company of Industry Funds Management, has an eye on buying contracted assets to grow its generation platform—although it’s in no rush to buy facilities that don't fit its model. ”We’re not a household name. At least, not today,” Tom Rainwater, president and ceo of Essential Power, told attendees at Platts 27th Annual Global Power conference in Las Vegas.

Essential is interested in contracted generation assets, given that IFM, an Australian infrastructure fund, has a low risk appetite. The company is also keen on facilities in areas that are not overbuilt, meaning there will still be need for the power for years to come, Rainwater told PI on the sidelines. The shop is particularly keen on assets in the PJM region and will look at facilities in New England, although the area has seen facilities trade at higher prices than work for Essential, he said.

The Iselin, N.J.-based company does a quick, preliminary evaluation of assets that hit the market. Essential has so far passed on most opportunities to seriously pursue assets, Rainwater explained, adding that the short contract lives of many of the assets left the buyer open to merchant risk.

The company is looking into expanding some of its existing assets, he told PI. Essential Power, formerly North American Energy Alliance, is also looking into expanding some of its existing assets owns the 1.7 GW that IFM bought from Consolidated Edison Development for $1.477 in 2008 (PI, 4/25/2008). It changed its name in January.

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