Two wind energy and five solar power projects, with a total capacity of over 1 GW, have been auctioned off to investors at a unique event on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

The Project Sales & Cocktails event, co-hosted by FTI Consulting’s investment banking subsidiary FTI Capital Advisors, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, DNV GL and Novogradac on Monday evening, brought together 150 senior leaders from the renewable energy industry, including major independent power producers (IPPs) and developers, project owners, sponsors, fund investors and lenders in the U.S. clean energy sector.

In an innovative auction format, project developers and owners of mid- and late-stage development assets offered up their wind and solar projects to indications of interest from the financial community and renewable energy investors more broadly. Winning bidders secured an exclusivity period in which to narrow purchase and process terms. No financial commitments were made on the evening, but a number of agreements of high strategic value were confirmed.

Exclusivity was successfully secured on:

– Four ITC-eligible utility-scale solar development projects located in Michigan, Ohio, New Mexico and Texas, with a combined capacity of 571 MW.
– A community rooftop solar project in Washington, D.C., designed to support local residents.
– Two PTC-qualified wind energy projects in Texas and California, with a combined capacity of 459 MW.

Speaking following the auction, Chris LeWand, co-leader of FTI Consulting’s Global Clean Energy Practice and a representative of FTI Capital Advisors, said: “The M&A market for North American renewables continues to thrive, but one of the core challenges the market continues to face is bridging the gap between project developers, owners and an increasingly diversified pool of financial and strategic investors. Simplifying and facilitating the acquisition process has long been an objective for the market, and this evening has been a highly successful experiment, combining the networks of four of the most prominent financial, technical and legal advisors in the sector. It has highlighted considerable ongoing appetite from the investment community for high-quality renewable energy assets – and we’ll be watching with interest as discussions progress over the next month or so.”

“The No. 1 question we get from clients is ‘how can we identify projects and developers to work with?’” said Daniel Sinaiko, partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. “In looking for partners to help us answer this question, DNV, Novogradac and FTI are obvious fits. Leveraging our collective relationships at Project Sales & Cocktails was a highly effective tool for bringing stakeholders together to build rapport and exchange ideas in a fun setting. Hopefully the connectivity at the event brings our friends and clients closer together on the projects we profiled at the event, or perhaps on broader strategic opportunities.”

The location of this event at the New York Stock Exchange is emblematic of the degree to which wind and solar projects have come squarely into the mainstream as an attractive asset class for equity investment.

“This is the first time such a diverse group of prominent industry players from the energy and finance community has been brought together for an event like this on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange,” said Richard S. Barnes, Regional President, Energy North America for DNV GL. “As an independent technical advisor at the center of the renewables industry, we see this as a way to move the market forward by creating new green investment opportunity and value for our customers.”

“As the pool of renewable energy cash and tax equity investors continues to evolve due to market and tax law changes we are proud to be a sponsor of an event that successfully and efficiently brings together financing sources with project developers,” said Stephen Tracy, a partner in the renewable energy practice of Novogradac. “With keen interest we look forward to seeing how successful this platform experiment will be over the next few months, as should be evidenced by the closing of successful transactions.”

News item from FTI