Ontario Teachers' backs US transmission developer Anbaric

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, the huge Canadian pension fund manager, has announced a new partnership with US-based transmission developer Anbaric, committing to to fund the development costs of renewables-related transmission projects that would be worth $2bn if built.

The new partnership, known as Anbaric Development Partners, will invest in early-stage high-voltage direct current transmission lines as well as microgrid projects across North America – potentially expanding Massachusetts-based Anbaric’s reach into the Canadian market.

Teachers’ financial commitment is the largest ever secured by Anbaric during its 15-year history in the US transmission market.

Privately owned Anbaric has successfully developed several merchant transmission projects in the US, and it has several more underway – most of them aimed at bringing large amounts of renewables capacity into the densely populated northeastern US.

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For example, the 400MW Vermont Green Line project would flow renewable power from northern New York down through Lake Champlain and into the broader New England market. And last year Anbaric and US renewables developer Invenergy unveiled their eye-catching Clean Energy Link proposal, which would see a 700MW portfolio of wind and solar projects built across a number of East Coast states and delivered onto New York’s Long Island via new transmission lines.

The new partnership with Anbaric deepens Teachers’ push into renewables-related infrastructure, following its joint acquisition last year of UK-based Cubico Sustainable Investments, which owns a large portfolio of wind, solar and water assets in Europe and Latin America. Toronto-based Teachers’ manages more than C$170bn ($126bn) in pension savings for the province’s teachers.

A number of Canadian institutional investors are pushing into the global renewables market, most recently the Alberta Investment Management Corp., which last month announced plans to acquire a half-stake in leading US utility-scale solar developer sPower.

Andrew Claerhout, senior managing director for infrastructure and natural resources at Teachers’, says the partnership with Anbaric will allow the pension manager to “strategically invest earlier in the asset lifecycle” to bring greater returns. That Anbaric’s projects will support the transition to a low-carbon economy are an “added benefit”, Claerhout adds.

Edward Krapels, Anbaric’s founder and chief executive, says: “Today’s announcement is a critical step forward in linking an institutional investor with an energy infrastructure company at a key inflection point for the electric power grid.”

“Ontario Teachers’ investment in Anbaric creates an attractive launching pad for generating innovative energy jobs and boosting local economies while replacing our deteriorating and outdated fossil fuel-oriented grid with new and sustainable energy alternatives,” Krapels says.