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Purchase is growth opportunity

One of the world's largest utilities with no wind development to its credit jumped into the wind industry in a big way when it announced its $60 million purchase of SeaWest Holdings, Inc. AES Corporation of Arlington, Virginia, which generates 44,000 MW of energy worldwide with fossil and nuclear fuels, says it will close the deal in the first quarter this year, pending approvals by federal regulators.

In April 2004, AES become a minority investor in US Windforce, which is developing wind projects in three East Coast states. Ned Hall, who heads up the AES Global Development group, which includes the new wind power holdings, says there's more to come.

"We see these purchases as a natural extension of our generation holdings," Hall says. "Adding wind is recognizing where the growth is. But, we're not done. We are looking at other opportunities in the US and in Europe."

SeaWest has positive recognition in the wind industry, he says, "but our ultimate goal for AES is to be recognized worldwide as a wind company."

Founded in 1982 by Charles Davenport, III, SeaWest Holdings of San Diego, California, is the parent company of SeaWest Windpower, Inc. and Prasentia, LLC. SeaWest Windpower, which has developed more than 850 MW, is a pioneer in wind development in the United States. Over the last several years, the company has become focused on operating more than 500 MW of installed wind capacity in California, Wyoming and Oregon, but it still has more than 1800 MW under development in ten western states and it owns 73 net MW of wind generation that, according to Hall, generates $20 million annually in revenue.

"Our efforts at SeaWest to successfully implement our new strategy through the last couple of years has provided the company the opportunity to seek out the right partner going forward," says SeaWest Windpower's executive Christian Engsted.

"In AES, we found a partner that, when combined with the knowledge, experience and competence of SeaWest, can not only allow us to maintain a market-leading role in a fast consolidating industry, but can now provide us the basis for a larger role in the renewable industry on a global scale." he says.

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