Recently, it seems that every day brings blank check company news, whether it’s an initial public offering or a merger. But could a privately held renewable energy project developer go public this way by the end of the year?

Plenty of market participants that I am speaking to seem to think so.

The stereotypical target for a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) at the moment is a business in any part of the electric vehicle value chain. It started with Nikola, and the latest example is EVgo, the charging station company that is being acquired by Pacific Investment Management Co’s snappily-named Climate Change Crisis Real Impact I Acquisition Corp (PFR, 1/22/21).

The PIMCO SPAC, also known as Climate Real Impact Solutions (CRIS), is led by former NRG Energy CEO David Crane, and it will not be lost on anyone in the US power industry that EVgo was incubated at NRG under his reign there.

Crane’s efforts to turn NRG into a pioneer of the energy transition with ventures like EVgo were seen as a reason for the stock’s poor performance, which evenutally culminated in his being given the boot in 2015 (PFR, 12/3/15, 4/5/16). EVgo was one of the first things to go as NRG cleared house. It was bought by Vision Ridge Partners, which sold it to LS Power in 2019 (PFR, 12/23/19).

But we also came a step closer to a renewables developer going “SPAC” last week when Apollo Global Management’s Spartan Acquisition Corp II announced it was merging with residential solar financier Sunlight Financial (PFR, 1/25/21). Not quite a developer, but close!

At the rate that companies are being snapped up, Energy Capital Partners will have to act fast to pick up a good one. Its energy transition SPAC was due to float on January 28 (PFR, 1/21/21).

How to make sense of it all? Subscribers can look forward to a feature focused on SPACs in the renewable energy sector next week.

If you would like to share your views, contact the editor at richard.metcalf@powerfinancerisk.com.

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