Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Private Equity/Infrastructure: "Carlyle sees a cash cow in AI electricity boom"

From Semafor, April 17:

The Scoop
The private equity firm Carlyle Group is courting artificial intelligence-focused data centers as anchor customers for a series of large solar power farms it’s building in the Arizona desert.

Two years after Carlyle founded its own renewable-energy development company, Copia Power, construction is underway on its first project: a $2 billion, 1.5-gigawatt solar-and-storage project outside of Phoenix. A second, similar project is expected to break ground nearby later this year, and a third 1.5-gigawatt facility is in development for the near future. Although the customers Copia Power initially locked in are fairly routine — the local utility and the hardware chain Lowe’s — the company is now shifting its focus to target tech companies, which have emerged as the U.S. power market’s most voracious buyers of low-carbon electricity, Pooja Goyal, Carlyle’s chief investment officer for infrastructure and head of renewables, told Semafor.

“We knew there was going to be a lot of demand from corporate customers for the energy from these projects,” she said. “But we definitely did not take into account the demand pull from AI that is happening right now. That’s become a major accelerator to the original investment thesis.”....