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Spanish wind energy specialist Eolos raises growth money

October 4, 2019

Swiss private equity firm Prorsum Capital has completed an investment in a wind energy specialist. It concerns Eolos, a Spanish company that provides measurement services to the offshore wind industry.

With the new partnership with Prorsum, Eolos is raising external capital for the second time since its inception in 2014. The first investment in Eolos was made by EIT InnoEnergy, a European investor focused on startups specialized in renewable energy.

Over the past five years, Eolos' team has grown to a size of seventeen full-time employees. The Spanish company has supported many offshore developers - such as Nyserda, EDPR and Iberdrola - in taking wind measurements. In the past year, Eolos has also won new projects in Ireland, South Korea and the United States.

In order to invest in wind energy, wind measurement is extremely important. More accurate data gives investors better information on which to base their final investment decision. On the basis of accurate data, wind farm planning activities can be optimised (e.g. determining the location and distance between different wind turbines). Furthermore, the maintenance and repair process can be organised more efficiently on the basis of more accurate data.

Eolos records wind measurements using a LiDAR buoy*. This buoy contains an autonomous wind, wave and current measuring system and also an oceanographic measuring device that can determine the properties of seawater. With these various technologies, measurements can be carried out at altitudes of more than 200 metres above sea level. Compared to more traditional techniques, such as a measuring mast attached to the bottom of the sea, the LiDAR buoy is far less expensive (just think of the big difference in installation costs).

According to Rajai Aghabi, CEO and founder of Eolos, the growing demand for offshore wind energy particularly in Europe, North America and Asia presents a "tremendous" growth opportunity for his organization. "Prorsum's investment will allow us to better serve our customers and increase our global footprint," Aghabi said.

A sector with a tailwind

A report by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) shows that the total capacity of all offshore wind turbines worldwide has grown by an average of 21% per year since 2013 to reach 23 gigawatts in 2019. With the globally embraced Paris climate goals in mind (and the sustainability policies associated with them), the next decade can once again be counted on for significant annual power growth. Experts expect the global capacity generated by offshore wind turbines to reach approximately 165 gigawatts by 2030.

Aghabi says that Eolos is well positioned to respond to this expected growth. Jeroen van der Veer, former CEO of energy giant Shell and associated with Prorsum, agrees with Aghabi: "Eolos offers reliable and cost-effective wind measurements by using floating buoys instead of traditional measuring equipment that must be fixed to the seabed. With this unique measurement technology, Eolos contributes significantly to reducing the development time of an offshore wind farm without compromising the quality of the data."

"With this unique measurement technology, Eolos contributes significantly to reducing the development time of an offshore wind farm without compromising the quality of the data."
- Jeroen van der Veer

While no financial details surrounding the deal have been revealed, it is known that Prorsum is now the largest shareholder in the Spanish wind energy meter. "Eolos has become one of the market leaders in just five years, working for several very large international companies active in the offshore wind industry. We are excited about this cooperation," said Otto von Troschke, founder of Prorsum Capital.

During the deal, Eolos was advised by JBR Corporate Finance, a Dutch M&A firm. The dealmakers at JBR - Ronald van Rijn and Harold Brummelhuis - supported Eolos with deal structuring, financial modelling, setting up the information memorandum, marketing activities for potential investors and in the negotiations. At the time of writing it is not known which parties supported Prorsum Capital in the deal.

* There are two types of wind detection systems on the market. LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) instruments use light to measure wind, while SoDAR (Sonic Detection and Ranging) instruments measure wind using sound waves.