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United States

Bulk turbine buy for farmers

The wind energy unit of John Deere Credit (JDC) signalled its increasing interest in US community wind power development last month with the announcement of an order placed with Vestas for 65 turbines with a combined capacity of 107 MW.

The deal, which has Vestas supplying and commissioning the 1.65 MW wind turbines, also includes a five-year maintenance and service agreement. Shipment is to begin in December, with all the machines expected to be installed before the end of 2007.

As both a debt and equity investor, JDC enters into agreements with local developers and landowners to facilitate the development and operation of wind energy projects. JDC's involvement makes it possible for community owners to access the ten-year benefits of the federal production tax credit in an arrangement whereby JDC owns a project for the first half of a typical 20-year power purchase agreement. After ten years, ownership is turned over to community interests (Windpower Monthly, May 2006).

JDC, located in Des Moines, Iowa, is the financial services division of Deere & Company, the world's leading manufacturer of agricultural and forestry equipment. The company, which has been involved in financing wind power projects since 2005, has investments in wind energy developments in Texas and Minnesota. Its wind project portfolio amounts to 50 MW.

Vestas is the world's leading supplier of wind turbines, supplying 3186 MW last year, including 700 MW in the US. "We are encouraged that John Deere has identified wind energy as a growth opportunity and we look forward to a continuing relationship in the future," says Jens Søby of Vestas.

John Deere declines to comment on the order or provide details of the projects the 65 newly ordered turbines are destined for.

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