Features | February 5, 2020

Generate Capital raises $1 billion to scale sustainable infrastructure-as-a-service

Amy Cortese
ImpactAlpha Editor

Amy Cortese

ImpactAlpha, Feb. 5 – Generate, founded in 2014 by Jigar Shah and other renewable energy veterans, builds, owns and operates green power, transportation, water and waste management facilities and sells the services to Walmart, Whole Foods, New York City and other customers.

“We take all the capital risk and all the operational risk,” Generate’s Scott Jacobs told ImpactAlpha. Customers “get lower cost and more reliability.”

As an operating company, Generate can raise long-term balance-sheet capital to match the task at hand: building and operating distributed infrastructure for decades to come. “You cannot do that on a fund basis,” said Scott.

Major infrastructure investors, including AustralianSuper, Sweden’s AP2, Queensland Investment Corporation, and Railways Pension, invested in the San Francisco-based company’s mega-round, one of the largest to date targeting sustainable infrastructure.  

Infrastructure revolution

The future is “democratized, digitized, decentralized, and decarbonized,” says Jacobs. Generate sticks to proven technology like solar, battery storage, electric vehicles, wastewater treatment and energy efficiency. It is one of the largest owners of hydrogen-electric fleets and of organic waste-management assets.

“You don’t need to reinvent the world, you just need to rebuild it,” says Jacobs. “Most of what we need to solve energy poverty, water scarcity, climate change – pick your issue – can be solved with the existing set of solutions.”

The company also named Richard Kauffman, chairman of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), as chair of the board, and Lynn Jurich, cofounder and CEO of Sunrun, as a director. 

“Acceleration of clean energy deployment requires innovation in finance,” said Kauffman. “With our permanent capital and long-term time horizon, we can be a new kind of partner for the pioneers who are building sustainable infrastructure.”