Texas Wind Farm Receives Solid Backing

Airtricity agreed on $120 million in project equity investment with GE Energy Financial Services, Fortis Capital and Wells Fargo for a 125-megawatt (MW) wind farm under construction in West Texas. Last year, Dublin, Ireland-based Airtricity announced plans to spend $1.5 billion in the U.S. market, and the Forest Creek Wind Farm is the first to be developed under that strategy.

“Airtricity is moving steadily ahead with its U.S. development plans, and we are pleased to reach agreement with GE, Fortis and Wells Fargo for the equity investment of our first US wind farm,” said Airtricity CEO Eddie O’Connor. Construction of the Forest Creek Wind Farm began in April and is scheduled for completion by the end of the year in a remote area of vast ranchland used for grazing livestock. Forest Creek will employ 54 2.3-MW Siemens MKII turbines, the most high-capacity wind turbines used so far in Texas, states the release. The farm annually will produce power sufficient for 35,000 homes and will save approximately 225,000 tons a year in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to equivalent fossil fuel generation. The project will help Texas meet its renewable energy requirement to produce 5 percent (5,880 MW) of its power from renewable sources by 2015. “Forest Creek is one of the largest wind farms in which we have invested globally and our first in the promising Texas market, bringing our total wind debt and equity portfolio to 1,400 megawatts as we grow rapidly in renewable energy,” said Kevin Walsh, Managing Director and leader of GE Energy Financial Services’ renewable energy team. David de Buck, Managing Director of Fortis Merchant Banking’s Global Energy & Utilities Group said, “As a long time leading lender to wind projects, such an equity investment adds a new product offering to Fortis’ U.S. wind finance business.” Last year, Wells Fargo announced a $1 billion commitment for environmentally beneficial opportunities. Barry Neal, head of Environmental Finance at Wells Fargo, said, “We consider this project a success on multiple levels — financial, societal and environmental — and are seeking opportunities to support more like it.”
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