Dublin, Ireland In a deal which involves a capital investment of more than $1.69 billion over a four year period, Mainstream Renewable Power has acquired a portfolio of U.S. wind farm projects in the State of Illinois, with a potential capacity of 787 megawatts (MW). Mainstream has acquired the assets from local wind farm developer FPC Services.
The portfolio comprises three separate projects at various stages of development; the most advanced is the 120 megawatt Shady Oaks project, located in Lee County, Illinois which is due to commence construction next year. The 467 megawatt Green River project, also located in Lee County, is a mid-stage development project, with a grid interconnection position already located in the project area, and it is expected to be construction-ready by the end of 2010. The 200-MW Boone County project is at earlier development stages.
Mainstream Renewable Power is a global renewable energy company, founded in February 2008 by Dr. Eddie O’Connor. The company says its core business is to develop, build and operate wind energy, solar thermal and ocean current plants by partnering with governments, utility companies, developers and investors across North America, South America, South Africa and Europe,
Commenting on the deal, O’Connor, said, ”The U.S. market is of strategic importance to Mainstream. The scale of the opportunity is enormous. Last month alone, the US sent $18 billion overseas, importing 386 million barrels of oil, so they need a solution which can be deployed fast and at scale. This is strongly reflected in President Obama’s economic stimulus package which includes $56 billion in grants and tax breaks for US clean energy projects over the next 10 years and a budget of $15 billion a year to fund renewable energy programmes. His campaign position of generating 25 per cent of the nation’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025 will help revitalise the US economy and protect consumers.
He continued, “Renewable energy has a huge role to play in reversing the economic downturn. Countries need a large-scale indigenous energy sources such as wind power to stabilise fuel prices, create jobs, bring down carbon emissions and reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels. What’s needed is vision, expertise and innovation and we have a team of almost 100 highly experienced staff focused on delivering these projects into operation by 2013.”
The Illinois projects are Mainstream’s second North American transaction in three months, having announced the signing of a CAD $840 million joint venture deal with Canadian wind farm developer, Alberta Wind Energy Corporation (AWEC) to build an initial portfolio of over 400 megawatts of wind energy plants in Alberta by 2013. The Company has also announced plans to build a project in Chile in the forthcoming months.
Mainstream established its U.S. office in Chicago in 2008, and in December appointed Chuck Watson as Non-Executive Director to lead its U.S. advisory board. (Watson, co-founder and former Chairman of Houston-based energy company Eagle Energy Partners, was formerly Chairman and Chief Executive officer of Houston-based Dynegy Inc.)
Since its inception, Mainstream has been engaged in a wide range of development opportunities, having established offices in Berlin, Chicago, Dublin, London, Santiago and Toronto. The company has raised €72 million in equity, including €20 million from Barclays Capital for a 14.6% stake in the company, and raised a further €26 million in Loan Notes through Dolmen Corporate Finance in December 2008. In addition, it reports that it has signed a $1 billion joint venture deal to build a 400 megawatt pipeline of wind power projects in Chile, plus signed a CAD$840 million joint venture deal to build a 400 megawatt wind pipeline in Canada. In Europe, the company is focusing on offshore wind power, and has been swarded the exclusive right to develop a £1.1 billion offshore wind farm in Scottish territorial waters, with a potential capacity of 420 megawatts.
Check out RenewableEnergyWorld.com’s recent video interview with Eddie O’Connor about the need for a new approach to transmission on both sides of the Atlantic by playing the video below.