Aquila Capital, backed by Dutch pension fund ABP and German institutional capital, has bought a Norwegian hydropower operator.

Norsk Grønnkraft, an operator of 33 small-scale facilities located in central and southern Norway, was bought from owners Akershus Energi, Energiselskapet Buskerud, E-CO Energi and Østfold Energi.

Oldrik Verloop, co-head of hydropower at Aquila Capital, said appetite from institutional investors for hydropower had risen, with more projects coming on stream and in need of financial input.

Verloop said there was an alignment of interest within the pool of existing Aquila Capital clients from Germany’s insurance sector.

The likely construction by Norway of a 700km underwater power line to the UK is also a potential future positive for the sector, he said.

The dearth of projects has been an issue for investors.

Aquila, Verloop said, is now in a better position to build up a platform of smaller investments.

The purchase of Norsk Grønnkraft, he added, will allow for more development “in-house”.

Through a bilateral agreement with NGK Construction, Norsk Grønnkraft’s former sister company, Aquila Capital will add further generating facilities to its hydropower platform.

The deal is Aquila’s third in Norwegian hydropower and follows the acquisition with ABP’s manager, APG, of a 33% stake in Tinfos, an operator of two large-scale and nine small-scale run-of-river hydropower facilities, in July last year.