ABP takes €327m stake in large Swedish wind farm
ABP, the €389bn Dutch civil service scheme, has directly invested €327m in the construction of the largest wind farm in mainland Sweden.
The Åskalen project – comprising 80 turbines – would generate sufficient energy to power the equivalent of 300,000 Dutch households, the pension fund said.
Åskalen is the first wind farm in which ABP has taken a 100% stake, cutting out external managers and their fees, according to Harmen Geers, spokesman for APG, ABP’s asset manager.
He said that direct investment would give ABP increased control of the 288-megawatt project, which was crucial for getting the project into the construction phase. The pension fund intended to follow this approach in future projects as well, he added.
Åskalen will be built in co-operation with Vasa Wind as operational manager, its owner Hg Capital, and Danish turbine manufacturer Vestas.
ABP – which already has stakes in more than 100 wind farms worldwide – said the investment in Åskalen contributed to its target of reaching €5bn worth of investments in clean energy by 2020. This is to be achieved through infrastructure, private and public equity, and green bonds.
ABP has also invested €250m in Norwegian hydropower operator Småkraft through a joint venture with German asset manager Aquila Capital.
With the additional financial firepower of another €250m from debt financing loans, the joint venture has acquired or built approximately 100 small hydropower plants in Norway, annually generating 1 terawatt of clean energy.
APG’s Geers said that Småkraft intended to double this capacity by 2020.
With the investment in wind farm Åskalen, the civil service scheme has increased its entire clean energy portfolio to more than €3.1bn.
Commenting on the investment, Corien Wortmann-Kool, ABP’s chair, emphasised that it was important to the fund to contribute to clean energy transition and the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, as one of the largest pension funds in the world.
“ABP wants to provide its 2.9m participants with a decent pension in a sustainable way,” Wortmann said