Venture capital firms don’t often invest in wind companies because the technology is mature and companies with new designs have a hard time getting into the established market.
In 2011, venture capital investments rose in wind companies to $369 million, but worldwide, that supported only 14 companies (there were 11 deals in 2010 totaling $277 million and 20 in 2009 totalling $198 million), reports market research firm Mercom Capital Group.
ReNew Wind’s $202 million raise consumed much of the 2011 total, followed by Boulder Wind Power with $35 million and Wind Energy Direct with $29 million.
The US led investments in wind in 2011 with nine companies raising a combined $294.7 million, and 2.9 billion invested in 19 projects.
Germany came in as a close second with $2.8 billion for large-scale projects, followed by Canada with $1.1 billion.
The European Investment Bank, the biggest funder, was involved in eight transactions, followed by the International Finance Corporation with seven.
Obviously, the action in wind is in project development. Worldwide, investment rose $1.6 billion over 2010 to reach nearly $11 billion in 46 projects. $3.4 billion of that went into five offshore projects.
Germany is home to the biggest project, the 400 megawatt (MW) Global Tech I offshore wind plant, which raised $1.5 billion.
Other big projects: WindMW’s Meerwind 288 MW wind farm at $1.2 billion; the 272 MW Canadian wind farm being developed by Boralex; and Selgneurie de Beaupre at $713 million.
China led in debt finance, accounting for $6.8 billion of the $11 billion total. Denmark and Spain had $1.9 billion and $1.7 billion in debt respectively, and the US came in fifth with $201 million.
The single largest deal was the $5 billion credit facility issued to Guandong Ming Yang Wind Power Industry Group Co. by the China Development bank.
M&A activity amounted to $1.7 billion in 17 deals, the largest being the $724 million acquisition of wind gear maker Hansen Transmissions (a Suzlon subsidiary), by ZF Friedrichshafen.
Brazil’s wind operator Jantus was acquired by CPFL Energia for $596 million in the second largest deal.
Sales of wind projects totaled another $4 billion in 61 deals.
The biggest was $1.1 billion to buy 50% of DONG Energy’s Anholt offshore wind farm by a consortium of Pension Danmark and PKA, and the acquisition of 11 wind farms from Auxiliar de Construccion y Servicios by Bridgepoint for $850 million.