GE Unit Expands Wind Energy Portfolio with Texas Investment

GE Energy Financial Services has agreed to invest in the 241-megawatt (MW) Sweetwater 4 facility, along with a sister project in Texas. The project helps Texas, which leads all U.S. states in installed wind power capacity, meet its target of generating 5,880 MW of its power from renewable sources by 2015.

GE Energy Financial Services will invest $180 million for 50 percent of the structured equity, with a subsidiary of Wachovia Corp. providing the balance, in two adjacent wind farms. Prior to this closing, the project was solely owned by global investment and advisory firm Babcock & Brown and Catamount Energy. GE Energy Financial Services has now invested or committed to invest equity in 29 wind farms.

The Sweetwater 4 wind farm uses 135 Mitsubishi 1-MW turbines and 46 Siemens 2.3-MW turbines. Its output will be sold to San Antonio’s CPS Energy, a municipally owned energy company providing both natural gas and electric service, under a 20-year purchase agreement.

Construction of the Sweetwater 4 farm began last August, with completion this month. Using 35 Siemens turbines, the Sweetwater 5 (80-MW) wind farm’s output will be sold at market prices. Construction of Sweetwater 5 began in February, with completion expected by December.

Under the new structure, Babcock & Brown and Catamount will remain equity investors and co-managing members. Babcock & Brown’s interest in the Sweetwater 4 project is part of the US07 wind farm projects, which Babcock & Brown has offered to the separately listed wind energy infrastructure fund, Babcock & Brown Wind Partners. Phases 1,2 and 3 of the Sweetwater project form part of the Babcock & Brown Wind Partners global portfolio of wind farms.

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