ElectriFI invests EUR 3m in new impact fund for renewables in Africa
Empower New Energy signs first round of equity raising in partnership with Norfund, ElectriFi and consortium of private investors.
A partnership of public and private investors today signed an agreement to carry out the first round of equity funding for in small and medium-sized (1-10 MW) clean energy plants, initially focusing on Africa. The fund, Empower Invest, will contribute know-how and equity to implement solar PV, small hydro and hybrid plants, supporting projects that are, individually, too small for traditional project financing. Once completed, Empower will raise green bonds to finance the portfolio of projects. The fund will invest in a “pipeline” of reserved projects prepared by the manager Empower New Energy, in Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Tanzania, amongst others.
The initiators behind Empower Invest, which is registered with the Financial Supervisory Authority in Norway as an Alternative Investment Fund (AIF), targets to raise USD 50 million. The company today successfully closed the Series A funding, USD 8 million, which will enable construction of the first projects starting this year. A Series B issue of approx. USD 40 million (NOK 360 million) is planned for 2020.
Investors in the Series A share issue include two public development funds – Norfund and ElectriFI – as well as a group of Norwegian private investors, including small power developer Malthe Winje AS, the family Elisabeth Grieg and Stig Grimsgaard Andersen, Dr.Magne Orgland, Harald Magnus Andreassen, Svein Tveitdal and others.
Empower New Energy has three partners: Terje Osmundsen and Alexander Ørjan Pedersen, who founded the company in 2017, and Susie Scannelli Cook. Lars Due is employed as the company’s CFO. The company currently has 9 employees and has offices in Oslo and Nairobi, as well as a representative office in Accra, Ghana.
Quotes from founder and investors:
“It is amazing that we now have succeeded to raise an equity fund that focuses on local solar PV, hybrid and hydro projects. This is the first fund of its kind, and most needed.” says Terje Osmundsen, founder and CEO of Empower New Energy.
“Norfund sees a huge need for increased investment in local clean energy production in Africa and developing countries in general. The collaboration with Empower will be an important platform for raising private capital for this market” says Norfund CEO Tellef Thorleifsson.
“ElectriFI is an EU-funded facility which invests in companies and funds with great potential to effectively contribute to develop clean energy solutions and contribute to sustainable development in emerging countries. We’re thrilled to support the ambitions of the Empower Fund’s business model over the next decade to generate more than 600 GWh of clean energy, enabling the reduction of 320 000 tCO2 emissions per year and creating thousands of new jobs and electricity connections “says Dominiek Deconinck, Manager of ElectriFI.
“If impact-investing is to make a difference, it is important that the investments create value for both financial investors, local communities and the environment. We believe the Empower Fund is an important innovation in this area,” says Stig Grimsgaard Andersen, private investor.
“Local projects and smaller investment amounts receive little attention from international investors and lenders. The Empower Fund is an important initiative to cover this gap in the market,” says Harald Magnus Andreassen, chief economist and one of the private investors.