By Isla Binney
(Reuters) – BlackRock Chief Executive Larry Fink sought to build ties with Republican officials at an energy investment summit in Houston on Tuesday after Texas blacklisted the asset manager over moves to transition away from fossil fuels.
Texas has been at the forefront of politically “red” states that have banned their public pension funds from doing business with BlackRock and other Wall Street firms that have adopted environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) principles. .
State Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said last month that Fink had contacted him after the state blacklisted BlackRock and that the two had met twice, with the latest meeting bringing up the idea of holding a summit.
According to a script of prepared remarks, Fink said at the summit Tuesday that BlackRock could help Texas get $10 billion in private investment to strengthen its power grid, hit by extreme weather over the past few years. After, from heat waves to winter storms, left millions without power and heat.
“That’s really how the idea for this summit came about. I told the lieutenant governor about some of the things we’ve done,” Fink said, referring to BlackRock’s bid to raise capital for Maui’s power grid after last year’s devastating wildfires in Hawaii. Told about the tasks.”
Fink said more than 100 investors, who collectively manage about $2.2 trillion, attended the summit and he hopes they will help strengthen Texas’ energy system.
Patrick’s office did not respond to requests for comment.
BlackRock has a major infrastructure investment division, which it said last month it would expand by acquiring private equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) for $12.5 billion. BlackRock has invested more than $1.2 billion in Texas energy, including renewable energy and natural…