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Sumitomo buys half stake in Kansas 299MW projects

UNITED STATES: Japanese trading giant Sumitomo will buy 50% equity stakes in two under-construction Kansas wind farms that will have 299MW installed capacity once operational.

US utility Duke Energy announced yesterday that it had agreed to sell Sumitomo half its shares in the 131MW Cimarron II wind-power project in Gray County and the 168MW Ironwood project in Ford County.

The firm's subsidiary Duke Energy Renewables and Sumitomo's US division Sumitomo Corporation of America (SCOA) will complete construction of both wind farms later this year. Duke Energy Renewables will operate and maintain Cimarron II and Ironwood once they are in service, with SCOA actively involved in the management of the projects.

The deal is expected to close in April and the companies are also exploring opportunities to finance the cost of constructing and operating the Cimarron II and Ironwood wind projects.

Both projects have long-term contracts in place to sell the electricity they generate. Kansas City Power & Light will purchase all of the electricity and associated renewable energy credits (RECs) produced by Cimarron II under the terms of a 20-year agreement.

Westar Energy will buy all the power and RECs produced by the Ironwood wind farm — which will use 73 Siemens 2.3MW turbines — through a 20-year agreement.

Masao Miyamoto, vice president and head of SCOA's Power and Telecom Business, said the joint venture with Duke Energy, was a further step in Sumitomo's plan to take a more active role in the wind market.

Sumitomo grabbed the headlines last year when, along with companies including Google, announced plans to invest up to $500 million in the 854MW Shepherds Flat project in Oregon.

"We will continue to look for opportunities where we can leverage our experience as a leading developer and a long-term strategic investor in high-quality renewable-energy projects in the advanced development phase," added Miyamoto.

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