Private equity firm StepStone Group is investing alongside Ullico in sPower’s 1.3 GW operating wind and solar portfolio.

Barclays advised sPower’s owners, AES Corp. and Alberta Investment Management Corp., on the stake sales (PFR, 11/6), which are running in parallel and awaiting U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approvals. 

Once the acquisitions close, Ullico and Stepstone will own a combined 48% share in the portfolio, through a blocker corporation, with AES and AIMCO retaining their majority interest.

This could mark StepStone’s first direct equity investment in the U.S. renewables sector. “Neither StepStone nor any of its affiliates directly owns or operates any electricity generating or transmission facilities,” read a Dec. 21 FERC filing.

Spokespeople for the company in New York did not immediately respond to an inquiry, while Barclays officials in New York declined to comment.

StepStone and Ullico are not thought to be working with financial advisers.

“Infrastructure investors like contracted renewables but they especially like partnering with a strong owner-operator like sPower,” observes a deal watcher, adding that the portfolio was perhaps the “cleanest” he’d ever seen, in terms of having investment grade offtakers and 20-year power purchase agreements.

Investors in fund-manager Ullico include Plumbers & Pipe Fitters National Pension Fund (22%) and Trowel Trades International Pension Funds (11%).

Finishing touches

While the majority of the projects are already generating power, two solar assets in Los Angeles County, Calif., are set to come online this year.

The 100 MW San Pablo Raceway facility will sell its output to the City and County of San Francisco through a 22-year PPA once it begins operations in June.

In August, the 20 MW Antelope DSR 3 project will reach commercial operations and start selling generation to Southern California Edison for 20 years.

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