Eddie O'Connor, chief executive of Mainstream Renewable Power, said its size and track record of delivering top quality projects afford it the opportunity to set up its own platform to attract investment.
Mainstream is the world's most successful, independent renewables company and is currently building hundreds or megawatts of wind and solar plant across four continents. It has a project portfolio of over 19,000 megawatts across Ireland, the UK, Germany, South Africa, Chile, the US and Canada and is actively looking at the best opportunities in new markets.
O'Connor announced details of the new business venture at the international Sustainability Gathering today in Dublin.
Acknowledging that access to capital at pre-construction phase can be tough. O'Connor added that Mainstream's track record meant it could now secure access to longer-term, more reliable funding by developing its own capital raising arm.
He said the move would make a huge difference to the cost of raising finance. "As the business has grown, the risk-adjusted return has moved from private equity towards long-term, stable infrastructure returns," he explained.
He added that Mainstream was now well recognised for its success in delivering top quality renewable projects and so it was now more straightforward to attract the interest of pension funds and insurance companies from the outset of any plans.
"We have built a credible business. When you get this big, there is an exercise in corporate branding in the sense that people know that we know what we're doing. We have a great track record and our projects allow pension funds and insurance companies to take a sensible outlook over a 20-year period," he said.
Stephen Nolan, chairman of the Sustainability Gathering, welcomed the announcement by O'Connor. He said that the government had set a target of increasing environmental assets under management, deployed or domiciled from Ireland from today's US$20 billion to $200 billion by 2017 and that initiatives like this all added to Ireland's environmental finance expertise.
Nolan said this target was achievable due to the combination of two key factors — a world-class renewables and cleantech enterprise sector encompassing Irish companies like Mainstream that have been globally active pioneers in the area for decades — and the existence of a world-class international financial services centre.
"The combined expertise in the financial and enterprise sectors is what sets Ireland apart from other competitors," he said. "A new breed of asset manager is being born."