ArcLight Sells Leeward Renewable Energy to Ontario Pension Fund

(Bloomberg) -- Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, one of Canada’s largest pension funds, has reached a deal to acquire U.S. wind farm operator Leeward Renewable Energy LLC from private equity firm ArcLight Capital Partners.

The purchase will be made through the pension fund’s subsidiary, OMERS Infrastructure Management, according to a statement. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

“We look forward to working together with the management team at Leeward to continue the company’s growth trajectory,” said Ralph Berg, the pension fund’s global head of infrastructure for private markets.

Dallas-based Leeward owns and operates 19 wind farms across nine states, with a total installed capacity of approximately 1.7 gigawatts. ArcLight acquired Leeward in 2015, the companies said.

The transaction, which is subject to further approval, is expected to close in the third quarter.

OMERS is one of many pension funds and insurers snatching up renewable energy assets. These investors typically want to own wind and solar farms for their entire lifespans. Many prioritize modest, predictable returns over growth. Some even want to develop projects.

There are huge amounts of capital being raised to chase these assets. BlackRock Inc. has invested at least half of a $1.6 billion fund dedicated to renewable-energy assets. Blackstone Group LP, meanwhile, is raising as much as $40 billion for its infrastructure fund, and may invest some of that money in renewables. KKR & Co., a firm with renewables investments, has sought to raise $5 billion for its third infrastructure vehicle. And Brookfield Asset Management Inc. expects to begin fundraising this year for a fund that may include money for renewables.

Wells Fargo Securities served as adviser to OMERS Infrastructure and Shearman & Sterling LLP provided legal counsel. Bank of America Corp. acted as financial adviser to Leeward, with Latham & Watkins LLP as legal adviser.

OMERS oversees the retirement savings of almost 500,000 municipal employees, school boards, emergency services and local agency members across Ontario. It had C$95 billion ($74 billion) in assets under management as of Dec. 31.

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