The investment is part of a $117.5 million deal closed by a consortium of funders with Mainstream, which is investing a total of $177.5 million in the Lekela Power platform, a joint venture with private equity firm Actis. The financing will enable Lekela to continue building wind and solar projects in Africa — including projects currently under way in South Africa, Egypt, Senegal, and Ghana — as part of its goal of developing more than 1.3GW of new power capacity on the continent by 2018. Other investors in Mainstream Renewable Power Africa Holdings, Mainstream's funding vehicle for Lekela, include the International Finance Corporation, the IFC African, Latin American and Caribbean Fund, and the IFC Catalyst Fund.
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund is a member of Divest-Invest Philanthropy, a movement launched in 2014 by the Wallace Global Fund that aims to persuade foundations to divest their investment portfolios of holdings of the top two hundred fossil fuel companies and invest at least 5 percent of their assets in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and clean technology over a five-year period. RBF president Stephen Heintz told Bloomberg that the fund is looking to divest itself of 100 percent of its investments in fossil fuel companies that contribute to global warming by the end of 2018. The fund's portfolio's exposure to fossil fuel companies has already fallen to 3.3 percent, down from 6.6 percent in April 2014, while its investments in the dirtiest sectors of the energy economy — coal and tar sands — have fallen to 0.1 percent, it announced earlier this month.
"The teaming up of the world's leading independent renewable power developer with a foundation started by members of the family that effectively founded the global oil industry," said Mainstream CEO Eddie O'Connor, "is a significant moment in the world's transition to a new power system based on clean energy."
"I am very pleased the RBF will invest in Mainstream...which will bring renewable energy to communities across Africa," said Heintz. "I'm confident that if John D. Rockefeller were alive today, he too would recognize the enormous opportunities in the clean energy economy and be at the forefront of the global shift to renewable resources."