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Expanding green power portfolio -- GE Energy Financial

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GE Energy Financial Services (GEEFS) says it plans to double it renewable energy investments to $4 billion by 2010, equivalent to nearly 20% of its total portfolio. Being green is not only good for GE's manufacturing but also for its financial businesses, says GEEFS' head Alex Urquhart. GEEFS' investments in wind, solar, biomass and geothermal projects are its fastest growing business area, increasing from $630 million in 2004 to $2 billion today.

Backing words with action, the company announced two further equity investments in US wind assets last month, both in Texas. In its biggest wind farm purchase yet, GEEFS and a subsidiary of Wachovia Corp are buying equal portions of the structured equity in the 241 MW Sweetwater 4 development and the 80 MW Sweetwater 5 project for $180 million from Babcock & Brown (B&B) and independent power producer Catamount of Vermont, who remain equity investors. B&B, a global investment fund manager with a strong presence in the wind business, will continue to operate Sweetwater. The first three phases of Sweetwater are part of a global portfolio of wind farms owned by Babcock & Brown Wind Partners (page 40). Sweetwater 4 is made up of 135 Mitsubishi 1 MW turbines and 46 Siemens 2.3 MW machines and was due online last month. Sweetwater 5 consists of the same Siemens turbines and will be completed in December.

In a further 50-50 deal with Wachovia, GEEFS is also providing the structured equity portion of Airtricity's 209 MW Roscoe Wind Farm in final stages of construction near Abiliene, Texas. Airtricity owns the remainder of the $300 million development.

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