Desjardins Group and the Desjardins Group Pension Plan invest more than $1 billion in renewable energy and clean technologies

To mark Earth Day (April 22), Desjardins was named one of Canada's Greenest Employers for the third year in a row.

LÉVIS, QC, April 21, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - More than $1 billion has been invested to support renewable energy, thanks to financing from Desjardins Group's Capital Markets Division and equity investments from the Desjardins Group Pension Plan* (DGPP), with the contribution of two Desjardins insurance subsidiaries. Of this amount, nearly $550 million was invested in 31 wind farms, some $300 million in 14 solar energy projects and $155 million in 9 hydroelectric projects and a biomass power plant.

Together, these facilities can generate nearly 2,700 MW of energy. That's enough power to run 852,000 electric furnaces! This is the equivalent of the third largest Hydro-Québec generating station in the Nord-du-Québec region, after the Robert-Bourassa generating station (5,616 MW) and the La Grande-4 generating station (2,779 MW). It produces enough power to sustain all of the households in Montreal, 3.7 times the power needed for Quebec City and 1.5 times the amount needed for Ottawa-Gatineau.

"With a portfolio of $750 million in renewable and clean energy investments, the Desjardins Group Pension Plan was a pioneer in the wind, solar and hydroelectricity sectors," said Sylvain Gareau, Vice-President, Desjardins Group Pension Plan. "The assets make up half of our infrastructure portfolio. On Earth Day, we would like to recognize the Canadian investors who are building the economy of the 21st century."

According to Jean-Yves Bourgeois, Vice-President, Capital Markets at Desjardins, wind and solar energy are the fastest growing sources of energy across the globe, "Canada is rich in renewable energy sources and we can see this in our infrastructure financing portfolio. These energy sectors create high-value-added jobs and are drivers of growth for Desjardins. We're proud to finance this growing strategic sector and to contribute to the development of clean and renewable sources of energy for Canadians."

 

For examples of DGPP and the Capital Markets Division initiatives in terms clean technologies, and wind, solar and hydroelectric power, see the appendix at the end of the press release.

 

Capital régional et coopératif Desjardins: More than $4.7 M invested in clean technologies in Quebec

Capital régional et coopératif Desjardins (CRCD) and its partner funds have invested in 4 Quebec companies specializing in clean technologies. Laboratoire M2 and E2Metrix Inc. are 2 Sherbrooke-based companies that operate in the areas of biodegradable disinfectant products and industrial wastewater treatment by electrocoagulation, respectively. The Laval-based company, Airex Energy develops and distributes equipment to produce biocoal from biomass. Récupère Sol, which is based in Saint-Ambroise in Saguenay, treats soils contaminated with PCBs, hydrocarbon, etc. That way, the soil contamination problem is dealt with right away and the soil can be reused instead of being buried.

Our members also support clean technologies and environment projects

On June 14, Desjardins introduced 2 new sustainable development funds. The Desjardins SocieTerra Cleantech Fund is the first mutual fund in Canada to offer individual investors the ability to finance innovative technologies and solutions in the areas of energy efficiency and the environment. Impax, the fund manager, invests in companies from around the world whose income is drawn primarily from clean technology activities, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, water treatment, pollution control, waste management, environmental services and sustainable agriculture. As at March 31, 2017, Desjardins members had already invested $53 million in this cleantech fund.

The Desjardins SocieTerra Environmental Bond Fund is the first fund in Canada to invest in environmental bonds issued by governments and corporations from around the world. Investing in this type of debt security is a way to finance sustainable development initiatives or projects that offset climate change. And on top of making environmental criteria a part of security selection, Mirova, a fund manager that specializes in responsible investing, also looks at the social practices and governance of the companies it invests in to ensure the portfolio's risk is managed effectively. As at March 31, 2017, Desjardins members had already invested $119 million in this new fund, which mainly invests in Quebec and Ontario green bonds to support projects like public transportation.

Desjardins named one Canada's Greenest Employers in 2017

On Earth Day (April 22), Mediacorp Canada released the list of the top 70 greenest employers in Canada. Desjardins, the largest private employer in Quebec, made it to the list for the third year in a row. See the section about Desjardins in the Mediacorp Canada press release.

APPENDIX

The Desjardins Group Pension Plan and the Desjardins Capital Markets Division invest more than $1 billion in renewable energy and clean technology assets

 

 

Wind farms: nearly $550 million in Canada and France

 

Wind farms across Quebec received $354 million ($114 million in financing and $240 million in equity). The DGPP invested $74 million in the largest wind farm in Canada, located in Rivière-du-Moulin in the Laurentides Wildlife Reserve. The wind farm has 175 turbines that produce 350 MW of power. The DGPP also provided funding for the Éoliennes de l'Érable (100 MW, Centre-du-Québec), the Saint-Robert-Bellarmin wind farm (80 MW, Estrie) and the Mont-Rothery wind farm ($13 million, 74 MW, Gaspésie). The Capital Markets Division helped finance 2 wind farms: Pierre-De Saurel (25 MW, Montérégie), the first fully municipal wind farm in Quebec; and Mesgi'g Ugju's'n wind farm (150 MW, Gaspésie), which means big wind in the Mi'gmaq language. It is an Innergex project developed in partnership with 3 Mi'gmaq communities.

 

Elsewhere in Canada, the DGPP invested in the Dokie Power Project (144 MW, British Columbia) and in a 680 MW platform, which has 10 wind farms and 2 solar farms across Ontario (8), the Maritimes (3) and British Columbia (1). The DGPP also invested in six wind farms in France, which generate 155 MW.

 

Solar farms: $300 million in Canada

 

The Capital Markets Division and the DGPP also invested some $300 million in solar energy (primarily in Ontario). In collaboration with the Six Nations of the Grand River, the DGPP invested $72 million in the Grand Renewable Energy Park, one of the largest photovoltaic solar farms in Canada (100 MW, Haldimand in Ontario). The DGPP also invested $55 million in the Kingston Solar Project (100 MW, Kingston and Loyalist Township). The Capital Markets Division helped finance 4 photovoltaic solar projects from TerraForm Canada (40 MW, Marsh Hill, Lindsay, Woodville and Sandringham in Ontario).

 

Hydroelectric and biomass power plants: $155 million in Canada

 

The DGPP invested $52 million in the SM-1 hydroelectric facility that produces 30.5 MW on the Sainte-Marguerite River (Sept-Îles, Côte-Nord). In British Columbia, the DGPP invested in 2 Toba Montrose hydroelectric power plants and 6 hydroelectric power plants near Harrison Lake ($42 million, 150 MW). Combined, they make up the largest private run-of-river hydroelectric power system in Canada. The Capital Markets Division helped finance the project from Kruger, a company with a biomass cogeneration plant at the Brompton paper mill in Sherbrooke (24 MW, Estrie).

 

Clean technologies: $160 million

 

The Capital Markets Division invested up to $160 million in 3 facilities with state-of-the-art environmental technologies: the construction of the North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant, which will be operated by the City of Vancouver starting in 2020; the Hamilton Biosolids Project, which allows the City of Hamilton to treat 60,000 tonnes of biosolids per year; and the Green Electron Power Project, a natural gas fuelled, electricity generating plant (294 MW, St. Clair Township, Ontario).

 

 

About Desjardins Group

Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the sixth largest cooperative financial group in the world, with assets close to $260 billion. It has been rated one of the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. Counted among the world's strongest banks according to The Banker magazine, Desjardins has one of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry.

About the Desjardins Group Pension Plan

Desjardins Group Pension Plan, acting through its Retirement Committee, provides a defined benefit pension plan to more than 60,000 beneficiaries. With over $11 billion in net assets under management, Desjardins ranks seventh among private pension plans in Canada.

 

SOURCE Desjardins Group

For further information: (media inquiries only): Richard Lacasse, Public Relations, 418-835-8444 or 1-866-835-8444, ext. 5563163, media@desjardins.com

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