Hardwick, Minn., August 6, 2012 — Expanding its partnership with global renewable energy company Enel Green Power, GE Energy Financial Services has committed about $156 million in common equity for one of Minnesota's largest wind farms, using GE turbines.
The GE unit now owns 51 percent of the 200 MW Prairie Rose wind project under construction in southern Minnesota. Enel Green Power North America, a unit of Enel Green Power, committed about $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 MW wind turbines for the project.
The GE unit and Enel Green Power North America also raised about $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 Co. 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.
The project, which is expected to cost about $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 Co., a unit 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 about 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 about 650,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year — equivalent to taking about 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 MW 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-MW Smoky Hills wind farm in Kansas and the 63-MW Snyder wind farm in Texas.