Aquila Capital has won its bid to buy a hydropower developer in Norway.

Småkraft, Norway’s largest operator and developer of small-scale hydropower plants, is owned by four Norwegian utility companies: Statkraft (40%), Agder Energi (20%), BKK (20%) and Skagerak Energi (20%). The sale is expected to complete by year-end.

Småkraft’s portfolio of 45 operating plants generates more than 500 GWh annually.

Oldrik Verloop, co-head of hydropower at Aquila Capital, said that, since 2009, the company had bought 100 hydro plants in Europe.

It is now, he said, the largest owner in Europe of small-scale hydropower assets.

Backed by Dutch pension fund ABP and German institutional capital earlier this year, Aquila Capital bought Norwegian hydropower operator Norsk Grønnkraft from owners Akershus Energi, Energiselskapet Buskerud, E-CO Energi and Østfold Energi.

Aquila Capital also holds 36% of Tinfos and 33% of Jørpeland Kraft.

Verloop this year said appetite from institutional investors for hydropower had risen, with more projects in need of financial input.

Statkraft’s current chairman Haakon Alfstad said the deal would ensure the continued growth of small-scale hydro production in Norway.

“The landowners’ long-term ownership to the waterfall resources and all commercial agreements between Småkraft and the land owners will remain unchanged under the new ownership,” he said.

Aquila Capital’s 20-year European Hydropower Fund was launched to co-invest alongside APG in European hydropower infrastructure in May.