The almost $500 million portfolio of 11 wind farms under construction was developed by Exergy Development Group.
GE Energy Financial Services made the announcement today at the American Council on Renewable Energy’s Renewable Energy Finance Forum in New York City.
The GE unit will own a majority equity interest in the Idaho Wind Partners project. Exergy Development Group will own a minority interest along with manager and operator Reunion Power.
The wind farms will sell all of their power to Idaho Power Company under 20-year agreements. Once completed, the portfolio is expected to qualify for the Federal Treasury Grant program designed to stimulate renewable energy projects. Additional financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
“Through our investment in Idaho’s largest wind power portfolio, GE Energy Financial Services is putting millions of dollars to work to bring jobs and clean energy to Idaho and help the country meet growing demand for domestic, renewable sources of energy,” said Kevin Walsh, managing director and head of Power and Renewable Energy at GE Energy Financial Services.
Construction company Fagen, Inc., of Granite Falls, Minn., initiated project construction earlier this month and expects to complete the wind farms located on farmland clustered near Hagerman and Burley by year’s end.
Using 122 of GE’s 1.5-megawatt turbines, over 13,500 of which have been installed worldwide, these wind farms will have the capacity to generate 183 megawatts, enough to power approximately 39,700 average Idaho homes and – – according to US Environmental Protection Agency methodology – avoid approximately 331,000 short tons a year in greenhouse gas emissions – the equivalent of taking about 57,000 cars off the road. In addition to supplying the wind turbines, GE will provide 7 years of operational and maintenance services to the project.
The project is expected to create about 175 construction jobs as well as permanent employment for operations and ongoing seasonal maintenance requirements. In addition to those employed directly, a wind project of this size would typically support the equivalent of over 2,200 full-time jobs in the United States for a year – about half of which would be in-state – and create 25 permanent jobs, based on a National Renewable Energy Laboratory model.
Wind comprises nearly 80 percent of GE Energy Financial Services’ renewable energy portfolio. The portfolio includes equity investments in 58 wind farms with a total capacity to produce 6.1 Gigawatts of electricity, as well as loans to 38 wind farms totaling 1.5 Gigawatts. Many of these investments have helped states meet their renewable portfolio standards, regulations requiring increased electricity generation from renewable sources.
“We are calling on Congress to enact a national renewable energy standard which would help stimulate growth of more wind, solar and other cleaner energy projects across the United States,” Walsh said. “A renewable energy standard would help provide long-term certainty the energy industry and financial community need to ensure continued expansion of renewable energy throughout the country.”
GE Energy Financial Services’ renewable energy investments reinforce GE’s ecomagination initiative, a program to help its customers meet their environmental challenges while expanding its own portfolio of cleaner energy products.