GE Unit Boosts 2010 Renewable Energy Investing Target to $6 Billion
Reinforcing GE's ecomagination program, GE Energy Financial Services announced today that it has raised its 2010 renewable energy investing target by 50 percent to $6 billion, and has just topped $3 billion. GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of GE (NYSE: GE), crossed the $3 billion mark with its single highest-value wind deal, a $300 million investment in wind projects spanning four states.
GE Energy Financial Services is investing equity in the 600-megawatt portfolio of wind farms in Oregon, Minnesota, Illinois and Texas owned by Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy LLC, a large US wind farm developer that is a subsidiary of EDP - Energias de Portugal SA.
GE Energy Financial Services' goal of investing $6 billion in renewable energy by 2010 is a major acceleration of a previously announced target of $4 billion.
"Thanks to our strong customer relationships, our expertise, GE's technical capabilities, high fossil fuel prices and popular support for cleaner power, renewable energy has become our fastest-growing business," said Alex Urquhart, President and CEO of GE Energy Financial Services
. "With our broad capabilities to invest equity and debt within and outside the United States -- not only in wind but in solar, biomass, hydro and geothermal power -- we have become a major player in a $60 billion annual renewable energy market."
GE Energy Financial Services closed more than $2 billion of renewable energy transactions last year, and by 2010 expects they will comprise 20-25 percent of its overall energy and water portfolio, up from about 10 percent in 2006. Wind energy is GE Energy Financial Services' most active renewable energy investing area. With the Horizon transaction announced today, it has invested or committed to invest equity in 85 wind farms and increased the total capacity of its global wind equity holdings to more than 3,600 megawatts.
In the portfolio acquisition, a Wachovia Corp. subsidiary is also providing equity in the wind farms, which EDP is building and plans to operate and manage. Construction of three of the four wind farms is expected to be completed by the end of this month, with the fourth completed by mid-year 2008. Additional financial details were not disclosed.
The portfolio consists of:
- Elkhorn Valley (101 megawatts), in Union County, Oregon. Built with Vestas V82 turbines, Idaho Power is the project's offtaker.
- High Prairie II (101 megawatts), in Mower County, Minnesota, 15 miles southeast of Austin, in Clayton, Bennington, Grand Meadow and Marshall counties. High Prairie uses Vestas V82 turbines and has entered into a power purchase agreement with Great River Energy.
- Lone Star II (200 megawatts), in Shackelford County, Texas. J. Aron & Company is the contracted offtaker. The wind farm uses Gamesa G87 turbines.
- Twin Groves II (198 megawatts), in eastern McLean County, Illinois. The wind farm uses Vestas V82 turbines, and its output is contracted to Constellation Energy Commodities Group.
The four wind farms will annually produce electricity sufficient to power more than 180,200 average US homes and will avoid nearly 1.4 million tons a year in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to equivalent fossil fuel generation. "This project attests to the growing appeal of the US wind market among European utilities, and helps us diversify our wind holdings in the United States," said Kevin Walsh, Managing Director and leader of renewable energy at GE Energy Financial Services. The Horizon portfolio investment reinforces ecomagination, GE's program to help its customers meet their environmental challenges while expanding the company's own portfolio of cleaner energy products.
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