Axios Pro: Climate Deals

January 20, 2023

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1 big thing: D. E. Shaw holds U.S.'s third-largest solar portfolio

Illustration of a stack of solar panels with a currency band

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

D. E. Shaw's Renewable Investments arm has the third-largest portfolio of solar projects in the U.S., Megan has learned.

Why it matters: The hedge fund, which has roughly $60 billion AUM, has been quietly staking its claim in renewable energy while other financial institutions sit out.

State of play: The massive hedge fund, one of the world's largest, has stayed quiet about its renewables investment strategy while growing a powerhouse portfolio of projects.

  • It's the only financial institution to crack the top five largest solar portfolios in the U.S.
  • Renewable energy groups NextEra Energy Resources and AES both have larger portfolios of projects. NextEra has roughly 33 GW of contracted and operating power, and AES has just over 7 GW, per data from research group Wood Mackenzie.
  • D. E. Shaw has just over 6.5 GW in contracted and operating power from solar projects. A D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments spokesperson previously confirmed to Axios that the firm oversees 65 solar and wind projects.
  • Renewable energy companies EDF Renewable Energy and Invenergy round out the top five producers, with approximately 6.1 GW and 5.1 GW in contracted and operating power, respectively.

Zoom in: D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments, also known as DESRI, has signed offtake agreements with Meta for DESRI projects in Arkansas, Utah and Virginia.

  • Though DESRI declined to share the terms of those deals, their existence hints at the group's larger plans for monetizing its army of renewable projects.
  • DESRI is in a prime position to sell the energy its portfolio generates to companies that are willing to pay a premium for renewable power in order to meet ambitious net-zero goals.
  • Tech companies have some of the most ambitious net-zero goals, and those with a fleet of energy-intensive data centers scattered throughout the country could be well-paying customers in line with the DESRI-Meta deal.

Between the lines: D. E. Shaw is a capitalist institution with nearly $60 billion AUM, so it sees enough dollar signs in the renewables space to support its massive project portfolio.

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