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Desjardins acquires stake in EDF Alberta wind projects

Financial cooperative owns 37.5% stake in 247-megawatt Cypress 1 & 2

The Cypress I & 2 Wind Projects in Alberta. (Courtesy Business Wire)

Desjardins Group Pension Plan and its infrastructure investment fund Desjardins Global Asset Management (DGAM) have acquired a 37.5 per cent stake in two Alberta wind projects that was previously held by EDF Renewables North America Inc.

The wind energy assets are the Cypress 1 & 2 Wind Projects in Medicine Hat, Alta., and total 247 megawatts of capacity. The first project became operational in 2022 and the second project joined it in 2023. EDF Renewables North America, a San Diego, Calif.-headquartered renewables developer, builder and operator was responsible for both.

After the acquisition, EDF Renewables North America now owns a 37.5 per cent stake in Cypress 1 & 2 while the Blood Tribe First Nations located in Stand Off, Alta. owns the remaining 25 per cent stake.

The Cypress 1 project was selected to enter into the second round of a Renewable Electricity Support Agreement with the Alberta Electric System Operator.

Frederic Angers, vice president and CIO, private markets at DGAM, said in a release, “Desjardins is proud to invest alongside the Blood Tribe and EDF Renewables Canada Inc. in the Cypress wind projects.”

DGAM Global Private Infrastructure Fund II is the entity that joined the acquisition. It manages $77 billion in institutional assets over 10 projects.

Plans for the acquisition were announced in June 2019, with the previous expectation for Desjardins to own 40.5 per cent, EDF Renewables North America to hold 34.5 per cent and the Blood Tribe to keep an identical 25 per cent stake.

A Desjardins spokesperson told SustainableBiz in an email the company would not disclose the financial terms of the acquisition.

About Desjardins and EDF

Desjardins is a Levis, Que.-headquartered financial services cooperative that launched the DGAM infrastructure fund for “long-term equity investments in infrastructure assets worldwide that have the ability to generate stable and predictable revenues.”

Its pension plan managed $15.2 billion in assets as of the end of 2022.

Desjardins has set out to invest at least $2 billion in renewable energy infrastructure by 2025 and reach net-zero by 2040 across its operations, supply chain and lending and investments.

Angers called the acquisition a “a great long-term investment in the renewable sector for our clients and another demonstration of DGAM’s commitment towards responsible investing.” Angers said the Cypress I & II project is the fourth large-scale project in partnership with EDF Renewables in Canada.

The Desjardins spokesperson said the two companies previously collaborated on three large-scale wind projects in Quebec.

EDF Renewables North America developed 16 gigawatts of renewable energy and battery projects, owns 6.3 gigawatts of projects and has a 44-gigawatt project pipeline. Its projects are in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

Some of its projects include the 350-megawatt Riviere-du-Moulin Wind Project in Quebec, one of the largest in Canada, and the Palen Solar Project in California consisting of a 620-megawatt solar farm and 50 megawatts of energy storage.

The company is no stranger to Canadian companies acquiring stakes in its projects. Boralex Inc. acquired a 50 per cent stake in five of EDF Renewables North America’s U.S. wind farms for $339.7 million in December 2022.

“EDF Renewables Canada is pleased to partner with an experienced infrastructure investor and expand its long-standing partnership with Desjardins,” EDF Renewables North America’s senior manager of portfolio strategy Andres Estrada said in the release.

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