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Enel increases ownership on two GE-partnered wind farms

UNITED STATES: Enel Green Power (EGP) has paid GE Capital $80 million to increase its stakes in two wind farms in Oklahoma and Minnesota, reducing GE to a minority interest on both projects.

The Chisholm project uses GE's 1.6MW turbine
The Chisholm project uses GE's 1.6MW turbine

The US subsidiary of Italian developer Enel acquired a 26% stake in the 235MW Chisholm View wind farm in Oklahoma for $47 million, and 26% of the company operating the 200MW Prairie Rose wind farm in Minnesota for $34 million.

These deals increase EGP's ownership in the projects, both of which are operational, to 75% and reduce GE Capital's interest from 51% to 25%.

Both stake acquisitions had been allowed for under the terms of previous partnership agreements, which for Chisholm View came in April last year when GE acquired its 51% stake by committing to $191 million investment in the project.

Last month the pattern for the Chisholm View and Prairie Rose deals — where GE initially acquired a majority stake from EGP with the intention of selling it back at a later date — was repeated on the 250MW Buffalo Dunes project in Kansas, with GE again taking a 51% stake.

Chisholm View has been operational since December 2012 and comprises 140 GE 1.6MW turbines. It has a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Alabama Power.

In addition to investment from GE Capital and EGP, the project in June last year secured $220 million of tax equity financing from a consortium of JP Morgan, Wells Fargo and MetLife Insurance.

Prairie Rose has also been operational since December last year and comprises 119 1.68MW GE turbines. It has a 20-year PPA with Xcel Energy subsidiary Northern States Power Company, and cost a total of $305 million to build, with GE Capital's initial 51% stake estimated to be worth $156 million. Prairie Rose also signed a tax equity deal with the JP Morgan consortium last year, worth $190 million.

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