The FINANCIAL — Statoil Energy Ventures announces today that it has invested USD 3 million in United Wind, the leading provider of distributed wind energy leasing solutions.
This is the first investment by Statoil Energy Ventures: Statoil’s new USD 200 million venture capital fund dedicated to investing in attractive and ambitious growth companies in renewable energy, supporting its strategy of growth in new energy solutions.
“Statoil is committed to wind energy, as demonstrated by our strong position in offshore wind. Today’s investment in United Wind secures early entry in the company driving the growth of the distributed wind market in the United States,” says Gareth Burns, vice president in Statoil and managing director of Statoil Energy Ventures.
“This transaction fits well with two of our key investment purposes: Testing and positioning for future potential growth legs, while also exploring high impact business models. We are excited to partner with United Wind and look forward to driving further growth through financing and access to technology and market experience,” says Burns.
The transaction provides Statoil Energy Ventures a seat on the company’s board of directors, according to Statoil.
“Rural property owners throughout the U.S. have a massive opportunity to save on electricity costs by using distributed wind energy technology,” said Russell Tencer, founder and CEO of United Wind. “This financing, coupled with our recent closing of additional project capital, enables United Wind to deliver on the promise of an affordable and sustainable energy future in these rural communities.”
Similar to the rooftop solar leasing model, United Wind offers a leasing option to its customers that want to install a wind turbine on their property to immediately reduce their energy bills by harvesting their on-site wind energy with no up-front, out-of-pocket costs.
Wind is the fastest-growing source of electricity generation in the US, with many areas where wind blows reliably across wide open spaces. By expanding the supply of renewable energy, United Wind can also replace CO2-intensive coal-based electricity: Coal currently represents 40% of the total US electricity generation.
In total, Statoil Energy Ventures will invest up to USD 200 million (around NOK 1.7 billion) over a period of four to seven years.
The fund is established as part of Statoil’s new business area New Energy Solutions, reflecting the company’s aspirations to gradually complement its oil and gas portfolio with profitable renewable energy and low-carbon solutions.