A joint venture of energy management company Schneider Electric and Huck Capital, a power sector investment firm, has announced a partnership with energy infrastructure developer ClearGen to build and operate standardized on-site renewable energy microgrid systems.

The deal made public May 25 is designed to “accelerate the ability for commercial and industrial customers to transition to cost-effective, sustainable and resilient energy,” according to the companies. GreenStruxure, the joint venture of Schneider Electric and Huck Capital, will develop and operate the microgrids. ClearGen, a portfolio company of Blackstone Credit, on Tuesday said it will commit as much as $500 million to the undertaking.

The groups highlighted the project as supporting “underserved commercial/industrial customers” that would benefit from a “turnkey Energy as a Service solution providing cost-effective, resilient and sustainable energy with no upfront capital investment.”

Annette Clayton, CEO and president of Schneider Electric North America, told POWER, “Now is the time to take bold actions. This partnership with ClearGen is just another proof point that the energy transition is accelerating rapidly. With this innovative Energy as a Service [EaaS] approach we take away all our customers’ main barriers and deliver triple-bottom-line results for them: resilience, cost savings and predictability, and sustainability.”

EaaS is a business model in which customers pay for an energy service without being required to make an upfront capital investment. EaaS often involves a customer subscribing to receive energy from a power management or service company. It is becoming more prevalent as electricity customers move away from the traditional utility model, instead securing energy from providers operating microgrids or other systems.

GreenStruxure and ClearGen said developing on-site microgrids will help users control their energy costs, and support sustainable business operations through the use of renewable energy such as photovoltaic solar. The microgrids also will help prevent power outages due to extreme weather and natural disasters.

Decarbonization Goals

“Energy consumers face a range of challenges, including decarbonization goals, cost and risk management, and the reliability of supply that affects critical operations,” said George Plattenburg, ClearGen co-founder and chief commercial officer.  “We are excited to partner with GreenStruxure to identify new investment opportunities, provide real value for customers, and meet the significant demand for behind-the-meter energy systems in North America.”

The companies said their microgrids will be a model for the EaaS market. “Look at the environment around us. All roads point to clean energy, from increased consumer awareness and policy initiatives to strong corporate and financial institutional commitments,” said Jose Lorenzo, GreenStruxure CEO.  “Building owners and operators who want to adopt a clean, reliable energy solution need a trusted partner ready to work beside them for the long-term to meet their goals. Our partnership with ClearGen gives our customers added peace of mind that they are backed by best-in-class capital expertise, technology and services.”

GreenStruxure launched in September 2020 with a goal of providing modular, standardized EaaS solutions to U.S. commercial and industrial customers. The joint venture focuses on “simplifying and accelerating the market adoption of renewable energy microgrids.”

“GreenStruxure is focused on empowering businesses with secure and sustainable power that beats the price of regular energy,” Steve McBee, CEO of Huck Capital, told POWER. “The partnership with ClearGen allows the team to go bigger and faster in achieving that mission.”

Darrell Proctor is associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).