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Definitions of a developer

The wind project development sector is undergoing radical change, with existing players reshaping their businesses to keep up with the market's rapid evolution. Meantime, a whole new class of developer is entering the fray. Today there are three groups of players involved in project development, some of which complement one another while others are in direct competition with each other.

o The prospector is in on the first 10% or so of the development process and goes out, speculatively, like a wildcatter, looking for potentially good wind sites and early permits.

o The pure developer only focuses on the development process and ultimately makes money by selling the prospective (or sometimes financed) project to its final owner. A pure developer may have started the development from scratch, or may have bought a project from a prospector and then developed it. The need for capital is low as it is basically a people business. Prediction and management of cash flow is extremely difficult for the pure developer.

o The investor/developer does development just like a developer, but then injects the capital required to build and own the project. Revenues come from sale of electricity and green power derivatives from the plant. Although much more capital intensive than pure development, it is easier to predict cash flow as it all comes from contracts and agreements -- this is a financeable business. Many companies will keep internal records of the development team "selling" a project to the investment team as a way of keeping tabs on the profitability of both sides of the business.

Some investor/developers have taken the model a step further and are focused on building a real development team (sometimes within a utility) and expanding through organic growth.

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