Quebec's big pension fund manager, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, has beefed up its investments in renewable energy by taking a stake in 13 wind farms in the United States and Canada.
The $500-million investment will give the fund a share of 11 U.S. and two Canadian wind farms currently owned and operated by Invenergy Wind LLC, a company based in Chicago that owns renewable energy projects across North America and Europe.
Up to now, the Caisse's direct renewable energy investment has been limited to a $25-million financing of the Seigneurie de Beaupré Wind Farm developed by Montreal-based Boralex Inc. The pension fund also owns equity in Enbridge Inc. and Gaz Metro L.P., utilities that operate some renewable energy projects among their broader portfolios.
The Invenergy investment "is our most important to date" in the renewable sector, Caisse spokeswoman Sarah-Émilie Bouchard said.
One of the projects in the group of assets is located in Quebec – the Plateau wind farm, a 139 megawatt development in the Gaspé region that has been producing power since early last year.
Caisse senior vice-president of infrastructure Macky Tall said the wind projects will broaden the pension fund's presence in a "forward-looking sector" and generate stable and predictable returns over the long term.
The companies would not reveal what proportion of the wind projects the Caisse will own, but Invenergy will remain the controlling shareholder of the developments. Over all, the portfolio generates about 1,500 megawatts of electricity.
Invenergy is one of the largest independent power companies in North America, with more than 55 facilities that generate power from wind, solar energy and natural gas.