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Vanguard Renewables, a U.S. leader in organics-to-renewable energy, announced that a fund managed by BlackRock Real Assets has acquired the company from Vision Ridge Partners. BlackRock Real Assets will partner with Vanguard Renewables’ management team to build upon the company’s market-leading track record and drive its next phase of growth, including its plans to commission more than 100 anaerobic digesters to produce renewable natural gas across the country by 2026.
Since its founding by John Hanselman and Kevin Chase in 2014, Vanguard Renewables has been changing the perception of U.S. food waste and how that waste can be recycled into renewable energy to benefit the planet. The company mitigates greenhouse gas emissions from food waste and cow manure through two distinct business lines: Vanguard Organics and Vanguard Ag. Vanguard Organics’ Farm Powered® anaerobic co-digestion process converts inedible food and beverage waste and dairy manure into renewable natural gas and liquid low-carbon fertilizer. Vanguard Ag, developed in partnership with Dominion Energy in 2019, converts manure into renewable natural gas. This multi-year partnership is essential to Vanguard Ag’s growth and Dominion Energy’s commitment to further its ESG goals via significant investments in renewable natural gas projects.
“We are pleased to invest in Vanguard Renewables, a leading producer of renewable natural gas from agriculture and organic food waste in the U.S., supported by long-term contracts,” said Mark Florian, Head of Diversified Infrastructure, BlackRock Real Assets. “Renewable natural gas is an attractive and fast-growing market that provides decarbonization solutions for both the provider of the waste, as well as the natural gas consumer. We look forward to partnering with Vanguard Renewables’ experienced management team to support the company’s strong growth momentum.”
Neil H. Smith, Chief Executive Officer at Vanguard Renewables, added, “Today is the beginning of an exciting next chapter for Vanguard Renewables as we scale our Farm Powered® program across the nation. We are thankful for the steadfast support of Vision Ridge over the past eight years and look forward to our new partnership with BlackRock Real Assets, one of the world’s most forward-thinking and environmentally-focused investors, as we continue to develop solutions to protect our planet.”
“Since our investment in Vanguard Renewables in 2014, we have worked closely with Neil, John, Kevin, and the entire team to enable them to grow the company from its modest beginnings into the national leader in the development of organics-to-renewable energy projects,” commented George Polk, partner at Vision Ridge Partners. “We are proud to have helped build Vanguard Renewables into an unmatched RNG platform pioneering a decarbonizing pathway in the U.S. while generating strong returns for Vision Ridge investors, and are pleased to transition ownership to a likeminded investor, BlackRock Real Assets.”
John Hanselman, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Vanguard Renewables, concluded, “I am immensely proud to have helped build a company from the ground up into a national organic waste-to-renewable energy leader. Vanguard Renewables’ mission has always been to help America realize a future where waste is a resource for renewable energy generation and regenerative agriculture practice.”
Onpeak Capital LLC served as the exclusive financial adviser to Vanguard Renewables. Evercore served as exclusive financial adviser and Simpson Thacher, & Bartlett served as legal counsel to BlackRock Real Assets. Ropes & Gray LLP served as legal counsel to Vision Ridge Partners.
Vanguard Renewables, based in Wellesley, Massachusetts, is a national leader in developing food and dairy waste-to-renewable energy projects. The Company owns and operates on-farm anaerobic digester facilities in the northeast and currently operates manure-only digesters in the south and west for Dominion Energy. Expansion plans include more than 100 anaerobic digestion facilities by 2026. Vanguard Renewables is committed to advancing decarbonization by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from farms and food waste and supporting regenerative agriculture on partner farms through anaerobic digestion. To learn more about the Company, its energy partners, and the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance, visit www.vanguardrenewables.com.
In today’s dynamic and complex global investing market, BlackRock Real Assets seeks to help clients access real assets that could help meet their investment goals by providing a distinct range of well-defined, outcome-orientated strategies, along the investment risk-return spectrum.
BlackRock Real Assets’ dedicated teams of industry and sector specialists deliver global reach, with deep local expertise. They have decades of relevant experience, are deeply embedded in their operating industries by sector and geography, and have developed strong partnership networks over time. BlackRock’s culture of risk management, knowledge sharing, and investment discipline sets BlackRock Real Assets apart and underpins all that they do. With over 400 professionals in 30 offices managing over $70 billion in client commitments as of June 30, 2022, BlackRock Real Assets partners with clients to provide solutions tailored to individual portfolio needs such as income, growth, and liquid, or balanced real assets outcomes.
Vision Ridge Partners is a preeminent investor in sustainable real assets that seek to deliver superior financial returns while driving positive environmental impact. Founded by Reuben Munger and joined by partners Justin Goerke and George Polk, Vision Ridge manages approximately $2.5 billion, as of December 31, 2021, across its three funds and associated co-investments. Vision Ridge has offices in Colorado and New York. For more information visit https://vision-ridge.com.
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