Invenergy Completes Construction Financing
Invenergy Renewables LLC has arranged construction financing for its 300 MW Santa Rita Wind Energy Center, under construction in Reagan, Irion and Crockett counties in Texas.
Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and its affiliates acted as sole lead arranger, administrative agent and lender for the construction financing. Blattner Energy Inc. is the project’s contractor for civil/mechanical scope and the transmission line, while RES System 3 is the contractor for the electrical substation.
Comprising 120 GE 2.5 MW wind turbines, Santa Rita Wind is located approximately 70 miles west of San Angelo. Commercial operation is expected to commence in the first quarter of next year.
According to Invenergy, the project will produce enough electricity to power approximately 122,000 homes, as well as create more than 300 construction jobs and up to 15 full-time, permanent jobs. Further, the project will generate over $100 million in local economic development in its first 20 years of operation through tax payments, lease payments to participating landowners, and wages and benefits for employees.
“We’re pleased to have reached financial close for our Santa Rita project, which is Invenergy’s largest wind project to date,” states Jim Murphy, president and chief operating officer at Invenergy.
RES To Build Its First N.Y. Wind Farm
Through a third-party bidding process, Renewable Energy Systems (RES) has been awarded the balance-of-plant construction contract for the Copenhagen Wind Project, located in Jefferson and Lewis counties in upstate New York.
A notice to proceed was given on May 24, and construction will begin on the 80 MW project in August. The wind farm, owned and developed by EDF Renewable Energy, is expected to be completed in November 2018.
The Copenhagen Wind Project will comprise 40 Vestas V110 2.0 MW turbines. RES will also construct an approximately nine-mile, 115 kV transmission line, terminating at a newly constructed substation located along an existing National Grid-owned transmission line.
“Copenhagen will be RES’ first wind project constructed in the state of New York, and we are pleased to be contributing to the economic benefits this project will provide to the community,” says Jason Zingerman, vice president of construction for RES in the Americas. “This project is another step forward towards our goal of a low-carbon future for all and adds to our proud track record of working alongside EDF Renewable Energy.”
During peak construction, Copenhagen will support 120 jobs, notes RES. The project will also offset 177,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually.
Greenbacker Scoops Up Fossil Gulch Wind Park
Through a wholly owned subsidiary, Greenbacker Renewable Energy Co. LLC has purchased Fossil Gulch Wind Park, a 10.5 MW wind farm in Hagerman, Idaho.
Greenbacker bought the project for approximately $6.175 million. The wind farm sells its power directly to the local public utility, Idaho Power Co., through a 20-year, escalating power purchase agreement (PPA) with roughly eight years remaining. Pricing on the PPA is based on a $0.061/kWh rate with annual escalations over the contract period and includes a contract to sell renewable energy tax credits to a third party through Dec. 31, 2018.
Greenbacker says the facility first commenced operations in the third quarter of 2005 and has been operating continuously since then. With this acquisition, the company now owns in excess of 45 MW of wind power assets.
“Adding another wind asset in the northern United States continues to add significant financial diversification to Greenbacker’s current portfolio of commercial-grade wind farms,” states Charles Wheeler, CEO of Greenbacker. “As we strategically invest in select wind assets, we continue to work towards the broader strategy of acquiring premier commercial renewable energy assets with high-quality off-takers.”
In addition, Greenbacker has closed on the purchase of 1,252 operating residential photovoltaic solar systems in the U.S. for a purchase price of approximately $6 million.
Utility Starts Next Phase At Cross Winds
Michigan utility Consumers Energy has broken ground on its third wind project, Cross Winds Energy Park II, located in Tuscola County’s Columbia Township in Michigan.
Consumers Energy is working with lead contractor White Construction, which was also the contractor for Consumers Energy’s Lake Winds Energy Park, located near Ludington, Mich.
Expected to begin commercial operations in January, Cross Winds Energy Park II will comprise 19 499-foot-tall turbines capable of generating up to 44 MW of power. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
The project will help Consumers Energy meet the state’s new 15% renewable portfolio standard by 2021 and help the company achieve its proposed plan to help large businesses transition to 100% renewable energy.
Along with the first phase of Cross Winds, the 81-turbine facility is a $345 million investment. The two phases will be capable of producing 155 MW of energy, which is enough to serve about 60,000 residents, according to the utility.
In addition, Phase III plans have been approved by Columbia and Akron townships. The final phase of the park is expected to go into commercial operation in 2020.
Appalachian Power Seeks Two Invenergy Projects
In concurrent filings made with the Virginia State Corporation Commission and the Public Service Commission of West Virginia, Appalachian Power is requesting regulatory approvals to acquire two wind facilities under development in Ohio and West Virginia.
Both under development by Invenergy LLC, the 175 MW Hardin Wind Facility will be located in Hardin County, Ohio, and the 50 MW Beech Ridge II Wind Facility will be situated in Greenbrier County, W. Va.
“We are continuing our transition to an energy company of the future and further diversifying our power generation portfolio. These acquisitions move us in that direction,” states Chris Beam, Appalachian Power’s president and chief operating officer. “Direct ownership and operation of these facilities will give our employees new experiences in the planning, production and delivery of power from diverse generating assets as Appalachian continues to add renewable resources in the years ahead.”
A unit of American Electric Power, Appalachian has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). Appalachian currently has a total of 375 MW of wind generation and an additional 120 MW coming online in 2018 (from the Bluff Point Wind Farm in Indiana). With approval of these two additional wind facilities, Appalachian will have more than 1 GW of wind and hydro generation – enough to power over 230,000 homes.
Regulators will establish case schedules for the filings, the utility notes.
Ellershouse Wind Farm Grows In Nova Scotia
Phase two has been launched for the Ellershouse Wind Farm, the first wind development in Nova Scotia to be funded and built independently of the local power authority or any provincial government incentive program.
The launch of phase two is being celebrated by Bullfrog Power, East Coast Credit Union, developer Minas Energy and Alternative Resource Energy Authority (AREA), which is the facility owner and operator. AREA, a partnership between the towns of Antigonish, Berwick and Mahone Bay in Nova Scotia, was created by the towns to reduce energy costs, expand green mandates and develop new revenue streams for the municipalities.
The second phase adds three turbines to the original four-turbine wind farm in West Hants, located near Ellershouse. The seven Enercon E-92 wind turbines have a total capacity of 16.1 MW, which is enough to power 4,900 Nova Scotian homes, says Bullfrog Power. All three of the towns’ electric utilities, as well as the Riverport Electric Light Commission, purchase part of their energy requirements from the Ellershouse Wind Farm. In addition, Bullfrog Power sources the green power produced by the facility for its Maritime customers, such as East Coast Credit Union.
“Bullfrog Power launched in the Maritimes in 2009 to mobilize and create further demand for renewable energy in the region. The launch of the second phase of the Ellershouse Wind Farm is proof of the impact that our customers, like East Coast Credit Union, are having in growing the amount of renewable energy generated in Nova Scotia,” comments Ron Seftel, CEO of Bullfrog Power.
The Ellershouse Wind Farm is the latest wind project supported by Bullfrog Power. Thanks to the support of Bullfrog Power’s customers, the organization has been involved in the commissioning of wind farms across Canada, including some of Ontario’s first wind turbines.
“The financial support of Bullfrog Power was important in ensuring the ongoing success of this project. By launching the second phase of the Ellershouse Wind Farm, we are demonstrating real progress in developing new, cleaner forms of power for Nova Scotians,” adds David Devenne, mayor of Mahone Bay and AREA vice chair.
Alterra Expands Loan For Texas Project
Vancouver, British Columbia-based Alterra Power Corp. has expanded its loan facility with affiliates of AMP Capital Investors Ltd. The net proceeds, totaling approximately $20.6 million, will be used as part of Alterra’s sponsor equity contribution for the Flat Top wind project in central Texas.
The expanded facility will be secured by and supported by cashflows from Alterra’s projected 51% ownership stake in the Flat Top project, in addition to security and cashflow support the facility currently receives from Alterra’s interests in the Toba Montrose, Jimmie Creek and Dokie projects.
The loan expansion will fund the project in conjunction with the completion of the Flat Top project financing. Alterra also expects to sell down a 49% interest in the project to a sponsor-partner.
The 200 MW Flat Top project is contracted to sell the majority of its power under a 13-year power hedge with an affiliate of Citi. The project previously contracted with affiliates of Vestas-American Wind Technology Inc. for turbine supply and maintenance and Blattner Energy Inc. for construction services. The project is expected to achieve commercial operations in the first half of 2018.
Serial Buyer Pattern Strikes Again
Wind Quarry LLC says it has executed a purchase and sale agreement with Pattern Renewables 2 LP (Pattern Development) for Wind Quarry’s 103 MW Willow Creek Project in Butte County, S.D.
The project, located on approximately 20,000 acres of private ranch land, interconnects to the Western Area Power Administration’s 115 kV transmission line and, once operational, will generate enough energy to power 40,000 homes.
The company says all major construction permits are now complete.
“We are very pleased to be partnering with Pattern Development on the Willow Creek Project,” says Patrick O’Meara, CEO of Wind Quarry LLC. “This purchase agreement helps pave the way for construction of the Willow Creek project, which will not only generate clean renewable energy for thousands of homes and businesses, but will also provide a major economic benefit to the local community.”
“We are thrilled to acquire our first wind project in South Dakota and look forward to working with Wind Quarry and the local community to develop the Willow Creek Project, creating jobs, economic spending and a new source of energy in Butte County,” comments Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Development.
EDF RE Inks Minn. Utility PPA
EDF Renewable Energy (EDF RE), the North American subsidiary of EDF Energies Nouvelles, has signed a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency for the 100 MW Stoneray wind farm.
The project is located in Pipestone and Murray counties in southwest Minnesota. Comprising 50 turbines, the wind farm is expected to start construction at the beginning of 2018 and be commissioned in winter 2018-2019. At the wind farm’s full capacity, the expected generated electricity will be enough to meet the annual energy consumption of up to 47,000 average Minnesota homes, says EDF RE.
EDF RE anticipates creating 150-plus construction jobs and 10 long-term, full-time positions from the project.
According to the company, the U.S. represents a major market for the EDF Group, which aims to double its renewable energy capacity by 2030.
Utility, Transalta Add To N.B. Nameplate
NB Power and a subsidiary of TransAlta Renewables Inc. have reached an agreement to add 17.25 MW of wind generating capacity at the Kent Hills site in New Brunswick.
The Kent Hills project currently accounts for 150 MW of nameplate wind generating capacity and consists of two separate projects.
Now, the additional capacity will make up Kent Hills 3. Subject to regulatory approvals and the completion of successful engagement with First Nations and other stakeholders, Kent Hills 3 is expected to begin operations in late 2018, according to NB Power and TransAlta.
Kent Hills 3 will supply additional generation and make up for lower-than-anticipated energy production at the existing Kent Hills wind farm. The energy from Kent Hills 3 will be sold to NB Power at competitive market rates.
The Kent Hills wind farm began commercial operations in December 2008. Natural Forces Technologies Inc., a wind developer based in Atlantic Canada, co-developed and co-owns the Kent Hills wind farm with TransAlta. The second Kent Hills wind project began commercial operations in November 2010.