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Major framework agreement -- Turbines to be made in the US

A framework deal worth as much as $700 million will provide up to 600 MW of Gamesa wind turbines for Horizon Wind Energy projects around the US over the next two years. The agreement, announced in late November, initially calls for supply of 400 MW with an option for an additional 200 MW.

"We're not yet going public on where the project locations are," says Horizon's Rick Winsor. "And this deal won't meet all our needs, although we've already secured a number of other turbines elsewhere. There's no doubt that wind turbine manufacturers and wind turbines are in demand. Companies that haven't already secured turbines are going to have a hard time completing projects in the next two years."

Gamesa Wind US is a subsidiary of Gamesa Eólica, the turbine making division of the Spanish Gamesa group, which is also a leading developer wind projects. Most if not all of the turbines will be made in new Gamesa manufacturing facilities in the United States.

"One of the things we liked about Gamesa is that they'll be building the machines in several Pennsylvania locations," says Winsor. That's one of the factors that made them attractive. Also, we've been to Spain and seen their facilities. They clearly know what they're doing and it all adds up to make them very impressive," he adds.

Houston-based Horizon, formerly Zilkha Renewable Energy, is currently operating and developing wind projects in more than a dozen states and has built or announced construction of more than 800 MW of wind power in the past two years. Horizon was recently acquired by Goldman Sachs, an investment banking firm. "We've set ourselves up for the future with this deal and that 800 MW number is a modest one," says Winsor. "We've got several projects on the go. Goldman Sachs is making a strong commitment to the environment and wind is a big part of that."

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