Who We Are
Wye Holdings LLC is committed to expanding access to clean electricity for unserved and underserved communities in sub-Saharan Africa through microgrids and distributed generation. Microgrids are cost-effective and affordable for a substantial portion of the off-grid population.
Wye was formed by Richard Santoroski and Patty Rollin in September 2016 to build on the co-founders 30+ year track record as developers, operators, and investors in the global power sector. Wye seeks to provide disciplined funding and hands-on technical, commercial, and strategic support to microgrid developers targeting a goal of commercial sustainability over time.
Prior to Wye, Rich and Patty were executives of American Capital Energy and Infrastructure, a global energy sector investment firm with $200 million of assets under management. ACEI invested in power generation and related energy assets, principally by providing growth and project capital to start-up developers and operators of renewable and conventional power generation projects. ACEI pursued assets in low to middle income countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, wherein a substantial development impact and compelling returns could be realized.
Previously, Rich and Patty were both executives of The AES Corporation (AES), a Fortune 150 global power company with total assets of over $40 billion. Rich served as an Executive Vice President, Head of Corporate Mergers, Acquisitions & Development and as the Chief Risk Officer. As an executive at AES, Rich was responsible for the commercial activities and risk management of a utility business that distributed power to over 12 million people in seven countries on five continents, and consisted of 14 companies generating over $9 billion in revenue. While at AES, Rich worked closely with Patty, who served in multiple senior roles, including Project Director and Head of Investor Relations. Notably, Patty also served as the Head of Global Development of AES Solar, a $1 billion joint venture between AES and Riverstone, an energy investment firm. During her time with AES Solar, Patty led project development and project finance for solar projects with 770 MW signed Power Purchase Agreements and a total capital cost in excess of $1.4 billion.
Richard Santoroski founded Wye Holdings LLC and serves as the Managing Partner. He is responsible for the leading the firm's investment activities as well as providing oversight of its financial and operational performance and has over 30 years of investment and power sector experience.
Prior to founding Wye, Rich co-founded American Capital Energy and Infrastructure (ACEI), an emerging markets investor in power generation projects across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. While at ACEI, Rich led the firm’s investment activities, overseeing the sourcing, monitoring, and management of all investments. Prior to ACEI, Rich served in several senior roles, including Executive Vice President, Chief Risk Officer, and Head of Corporate Mergers, Acquisitions & Development of The AES Corporation, one of the world’s largest investors and operators of global power generation and related energy assets. Prior to joining AES, Rich worked for several years at New York State Electric and Gas as an engineer and energy trader.
Rich previously served on the boards of ASAP Industries, Inc., Explorer Pipeline, Inc., Indianapolis Power and Light & IPALCO Enterprise, Inc., Dayton Power and Light & DPL Inc., AES Entek (Joint venture with Koç Group in Turkey), and AES Chivor (1,000 MW hydroelectric plant in Colombia).
Rich holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University as well as a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration degree from Syracuse University.
Patty Rollin joined Wye Holdings LLC in 2016 and serves as the Managing Director. Patty is responsible for sourcing, reviewing, and managing global investments.
Prior to Wye, Patty served as a Vice President of American Energy & Infrastructure (ACEI), where she was responsible for sourcing and reviewing investments across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Prior to joining ACEI, Patty spent five years at Silver Ridge Power (formerly AES Solar), most recently in the role of Vice President of Global Development, where she led and managed M&A, project development, and project finance. Prior to joining Silver Ridge Power, Patty co-founded an energy development consulting practice, Sage Energy Group. From 1984 until 2004, Patty worked at The AES Corporation, where she was involved in M&A, investor relations, and global project development in multiple regions and across multiple technologies.
Patty received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and English Literature from Bucknell University and a Master of Science degree in Engineering Economic Systems from Stanford University.
Director, Operations and Administration
Elizabeth Hennessy joined Wye Holdings LLC in 2016 and serves as the Director of Operations and Administration. Elizabeth is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Wye, including managing all organizational and administrative objectives.
Prior to joining Wye, Elizabeth assisted in the formation of American Capital Energy and Infrastructure (ACEI), co-founded by Richard Santoroski and Paul Hanrahan. In this role, Elizabeth supported the executive and investment teams, overseeing all administrative and operational functions for ACEI across three locations on three continents. Prior to ACEI, Elizabeth worked at The Cohen Group, a global business consulting and advisory firm, supporting in all efforts by the executive team to supervise business relations as well as staff management. Elizabeth began her career at OAO Technology Solutions, an international information technology staffing and consulting company, supporting, among others, the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Financial Officer and the General Counsel.
Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Paul Hanrahan serves as a Senior Advisor to Wye Holdings LLC. Paul is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Globeleq Advisors Limited, an Africa power sector investment firm, and has over 30 years of investment and power sector experience. Prior to Globeleq, Paul co-founded and served as the CEO of American Capital Energy and Infrastructure (ACEI), an emerging markets investor in power generation projects across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Paul previously was the CEO of the AES Corporation, a Fortune 150 global power company and one of the world’s largest investors and operators of global power generation and related energy assets with total assets of over $40 billion.
Paul holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School.
Peter Bird serves as a Senior Advisor to Wye Holdings LLC and has over 30 years of energy and infrastructure sector experience. Previously, Peter was the Executive Vice Chairman of Rothschild’s Southeast Asia financial advisory business. Currently, Peter serves on the boards of InfraCo Asia Investments Pte. Ltd., a donor-supported fund focused on low-income emerging markets in Asia, and Green Africa Power LLP, a donor-funded provider of intermediate capital for African renewables.
Peter received a Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in Economics from the University of Cambridge and has published over 30 articles in economics journals.
Robert F. Hemphill, Jr.
Robert F. Hemphill, Jr. serves as Senior Advisor to Wye Holdings LLC. Robert is currently the CEO and founder of Sunshine Soldiers. Robert was previously Executive Vice President and a board member of The AES Corporation. In 1982, he was part of the founding team of AES, now a Fortune 150 global power company with assets of over $40 billion. Robert was founder and CEO of AES Solar Power (Silver Ridge Power) from 2008 until 2013. Under his leadership, the company constructed projects totaling 526 MW and $2.5 billion in assets. He was previously a senior official at the U.S. Department of Energy and Tennessee Valley Authority. Robert has published two books: Dust Tea, Dingoes and Dragons; and Stories from the Middle Seat.
Robert holds a Bachelor of Science from Yale University, a Master of Arts from UCLA, and Master of Business Administration degree from George Washington University. He served as an airborne infantry officer and Green Beret in the US Army in Vietnam. He was awarded a combat infantryman badge and Senior Parachutist wings.
Select Past Transactions
BMR Energy Ltd
BMR Energy Ltd (BMR) is a developer and operator of renewable power generation projects in Latin America. The company operates a 36 MW wind farm in Jamaica in addition to pursuing a pipeline of development and acquisition opportunities. BMR was sold to Virgin Management in 2016.
AZURA pOWER HOLDINGS ltd
Azura Power Holdings Ltd (Azura) is a developer and operator of power generation projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. The company is constructing the 450 MW Azura-Edo IPP in Nigeria in addition to pursuing a pipeline of development and acquisition opportunities. Azura was sold to Lekela Power, an Actis and Mainstream Renewable Power portfolio company, in 2016.
Taiba ndiaye Wind Project
The Taiba Ndiaye Wind Project is a 152 MW wind project under development near Dakar, Senegal. Upon completion, the project will be the largest wind farm in West Africa and first of industrial scale in Senegal. Co-development and exclusive investment rights were sold to Lekela Power, an Actis and Mainstream Renewable Power portfolio company, in 2016.
Africa Microgrids – By the Numbers
As longtime investors in the power sector with a recent focus on Africa microgrids, we’ve identified two themes which have emerged very quickly. First, there is a lot of talk: everyone enjoys talking about energy access and microgrids. Regrettably, there is far more talk than action or investment. Second, the talk is generally skeptical of microgrids, often without much factual support. This skepticism compelled us to begin a series of papers documenting our findings on microgrids. This one provides some quick arguments to dispel the skeptics’ most common arguments and dive deep into the numbers. And the numbers work.
African Microgrid Subsidies: An Investor’s Perspective
Subsidies in the energy sector have run the gamut from highly successful to absolute failures. They have spurred infrastructure expansion, innovation, competition, and even bankruptcies. Subsidies have taken the form of tax credits, above-market purchase obligations, loans, grants, and outright payments or investment reimbursements. As an investor, if free or cheap money is offered --- we take it, as long as the strings attached aren’t too egregious. What’s more important to us, however, are the following three questions (particularly as they relate to energy access in rural Africa):
· When subsidies should (and should not) be made available;
· How should the subsidies be structured; and
· How we consider an investment when subsidies are offered.
African Microgrids - Let's Get Moving
The expansion of energy access in rural Africa is moving far too slowly. In many cases, investors and regulators are taking too cautious an approach, more of a “wait-and-see” view rather than an active push forward. We have discussed in previous articles some of the key fundamentals that should accelerate adoption of microgrids. Briefly summarized, microgrids are the lowest cost alternative for a substantial portion of the off-grid market, and they are cheaper than the current alternatives of kerosene, diesel, and candles.
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