On Friday, Blackstone announced that funds managed under its private credit hedge fund, GSO Capital Partners, have formed a new company that will provide capital to clean energy storage providers. The company, ClearGen will finance (and own) distributed and sustainable energy infrastructure assets for commercial, industrial and institutional customers, bringing Blackstone further toward its goal of becoming a “one-stop-shop” for infrastructure financing needs.
GSO, whose $138 billion in AUM make it one of the world’s largest alternative investment managers focused on the leveraged finance (non-investment-grade) debt market, has committed $250 million in startup funds to ClearGen, with the expectation that more will be forthcoming in step with future capital deployments.
Together, ClearGen and Blackstone will finance projects and invest alongside equipment manufacturers, developers and energy service companies who develop, build, and operate Distributed Infrastructure assets.
ClearGen’s client base will span a wide swath of sectors, including technology, telecommunications, healthcare, real estate, industrials, and other commercial and industrial energy consumers. For these customers, ClearGen will offer turnkey offerings and “energy as a service” (EaaS) without requiring them to use their own capital, reducing their development risk so that they can grow to scale more quickly.
Per Blackstone, the market for on-site renewable projects is growing rapidly as energy consumers are faced with rising energy costs, service outages caused by extreme weather and natural disasters, and a desire to improve the sustainability of their operations. ClearGen’s investments will generate environmental benefits, cost savings, and enhanced energy resiliency to customers by allowing them to improve or develop on-site energy infrastructure.
“Energy consumers face a range of challenges, including cost and risk management and the reliability of supply that affects critical operations. When you combine these with a broad focus on de-carbonization, there is a rapidly growing need for ClearGen’s capital and expertise,” said CEO George Plattenburg, who will manage ClearGen along with co-founder and Chief Development Officer Collin Franceschi.
“We are excited to partner with ClearGen and expand Blackstone’s investments in distributed and sustainable energy infrastructure. We look forward to working with ClearGen and its industry leading partners to meet the significant growth in behind-the-meter energy systems in North America,” said Robert Horn, Senior Managing Director at Blackstone and Co-Head of GSO’s Energy Group.