The GE unit now owns 51 percent of the 200-megawatt Prairie Rose wind project under construction in southern Minnesota. Enel Green Power North America, a subsidiary of Enel Green Power, committed approximately $149 million for a 49 percent ownership stake and serves as project manager. In addition to capital, GE signed an agreement last year with Enel Green Power North America to supply 119 of GE’s 1.68-megawatt wind turbines for the project.
The GE unit and Enel Green Power North America also raised approximately $190 million in tax equity to be provided by a syndicate led by J. P. Morgan, which includes Wells Fargo Wind Holdings LLC and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. The tax equity will be funded at project completion and will reduce both GE Energy Financial Services’ and Enel Green Power North America’s ownership stakes in the wind farm.
“This transaction showcases GE’s ability to provide both world-class technology and flexible financing structures for our customers and advances our long-term partnership with Enel Green Power, an established renewable energy leader,” said Kevin Walsh, Managing Director of Power and Renewable Energy at GE Energy Financial Services.
The project, which is expected to cost approximately $305 million, is located near Hardwick, northwest of Luverne. Construction, managed by Minneapolis-based Mortenson Construction, is expected to be completed later this year. The wind farm will supply all of its power to Northern States Power Company, a subsidiary of Xcel Energy, under a 20-year contract. Enel Green Power North America will have the option to purchase up to an additional 26 percent ownership stake from the GE unit later in 2012 and in 2013.
The benefits of the wind project are wide-ranging. The project’s Edina-based developer and Enel Green Power’s strategic partner, Geronimo Wind Energy, estimates that the wind farm will create approximately 300 construction jobs, contribute about $850,000 annually in new county and township taxes and create about a dozen permanent jobs. Prairie Rose is expected to generate enough electricity to power 75,000 homes and displace approximately 650,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year – equivalent to taking approximately 130,000 cars off the road – according to US Environmental Protection Agency methodology. In addition, the wind farm will help Minnesota meet its mandate to generate 25 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025.
This transaction expands GE Energy Financial Services’ and Enel Green Power North America’s portfolio of co-owned wind projects. In April, the companies invested in the 235-megawatt Chisholm View wind project under construction near Hunter, Oklahoma, which also will use GE wind turbines. The GE unit and Enel Green Power North America also invested in the 101-megawatt Smoky Hills wind farm in Kansas and the 63-megawatt Snyder wind farm in Texas.
GE Energy Financial Services’ global wind portfolio now comprises equity and debt financings for projects spanning 17 US states and four other countries totaling 9.9 gigawatts in operation or under construction. GE Energy Financial Services’ wind investing supports GE’s broader ecomagination strategy to create value for customers by solving energy, efficiency and water challenges.
About GE Energy Financial Services
GE Energy Financial Services’ experts invest globally across the capital spectrum in essential, long-lived, and capital-intensive energy assets that meet the world’s energy needs. In addition to capital, GE Energy Financial Services (geenergyfinancialservices.com) offers the best of GE’s technical know-how, technology innovation, financial strength, and rigorous risk management. Based in Stamford, Connecticut, the GE business unit helps its customers and GE grow through new investments, strong partnerships, and optimization of its approximately $20 billion in assets.
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Caption for accompanying photo: GE has advanced its partnership with Enel Green Power by providing capital and its 1.68-megawatt turbines, shown here, for the 200-megawatt Prairie Rose wind project in Minnesota.