Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Montreal’s Desmarais family and a group of financial institutions have launched a $1-billion investment fund to buy into solar and wind energy projects in the latest show of Canadian financial might for the renewable sector.

The sustainable energy unit of Power Corp., the family holding company, has partnered with Desjardins Group, Great-West Lifeco, National Bank of Canada and Switzerland’s Après-demain SA to seek out investments in Canada and the United States. The new fund, called Power Sustainable Energy Infrastructure Partnership, aims to invest the money over the next 24 to 36 months.

The fund is an offshoot of Power Sustainable Capital Inc., which has put some of its assets into the partnership to start, although it has other potential targets in its sights. Power Sustainable has investments around the world, and one of its companies, electric vehicle manufacturer Lion Electric Co., made headlines earlier this month when it was disclosed that Amazon.com Inc. secured the right to buy almost 16 per cent of the company while taking delivery of its trucks.

Story continues below advertisement

The fund’s creation shows how sustainable energy investment and the push to cut carbon emissions have shifted from government policy-directed endeavours to economic opportunity, said Pierre Larochelle, co-managing partner. Power Sustainable’s expertise in renewables will allow the fund to compete in an environment where billions of dollars from institutional investors, including major pension funds, are flowing into the industry, he said.

“I think finally the world is getting behind the shift to decarbonization, which obviously, for people who have been believing in this and investing in this for a decade, it’s great and we’re pretty excited,” Mr. Larochelle said in an interview.

“We invest in what we do because not only do we believe we can generate good returns and good performance for our owners, at the same time we do believe in being active participants and investors in the fight against climate change.”

He said Desjardins was a preferred partner from the start because of its own experience investing in renewables across Canada and understanding of the risks.

The move, championed by Olivier Desmarais, chairman and chief executive of Power Sustainable, comes amid a flood of investment in green energy by big-name institutions. Late last year, Brookfield Asset Management set up an impact fund led by former central banker Mark Carney that could eventually be worth as much as US$100-billion. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board expanded its $9-billion renewables business by setting up a European investment arm.

“This is a landmark moment for Power Sustainable, and the first of several projects we intend to bring to the sustainable investment marketplace in the coming years,” Mr. Desmarais said.

Although not dependent on government moves, the fund is expected to benefit from the Trudeau Liberals’ carbon tax as it accelerates the shift to more sustainable power generation and battery storage projects to stabilize electricity grids for less-continuous supply, Mr. Larochelle said. In the U.S., the incoming administration of president-elect Joe Biden also promises more adoption of renewables as it proceeds with plans to re-enter the Paris Agreement on fighting climate change, he said.

Story continues below advertisement

Power Sustainable owns New Jersey-based Nautilus Solar Energy LLC, which operates community solar projects in North America. Power has also vied to be involved in wind projects in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

With the global rush to sustainable investing, an asset-value bubble could be forming, and Mr. Larochelle said the fund’s success will come from finding its niche in the market and using in-house financial and technical expertise. It will seek deals in the $25-million to $100-million range. Meanwhile, community solar projects can be completed for about $5-million.

“When you in-source all those capabilities, you’re able to move fast and focus your capabilities. Then you can make those deals,” he said.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies