United States

United States

Deal from the days of equity in excess

GE Energy Financial Services has taken a $222 million equity stake in a portfolio of American wind projects developed by Noble Environmental Power, a wind developer based in Connecticut. The projects, located in western and northern New York, include the 97.5 MW Altona, 106.5 MW Chateaugay and 126 MW Wethersfield wind facilities.

GE Energy Financial Services (GEEFS) has taken a $222 million equity stake in a portfolio of American wind projects developed by Noble Environmental Power, a wind developer based in Connecticut. The projects, located in western and northern New York, include the 97.5 MW Altona, 106.5 MW Chateaugay and 126 MW Wethersfield wind facilities. They began operating in the first quarter of 2009 and all three utilise GE Energy 1.5 MW turbines.

GE's investment gives it access to the $0.021/kWh production tax credits generated by the projects. The bottom fell out of the pool of investors motivated to invest in wind power for tax reasons in the fall as the global financial crisis took hold, but GEEFS' Christa Bowers says the commitment to buy into the Noble projects was taken in mid-2008, prior to the investor pull back.

The GEEFS equity investment, combined with $440 million in long term debt, replaces construction financing used to build the wind farms. Terms for the debt, provided by a syndicate of banks and financial institutions that includes Citibank NA, Citicorp, HSH Nordbank, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB Bank, The Prudential Insurance Company, The Bank of Nova Scotia, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, ING Capital, Export Development Canada and Dekabank Deutsche Girozentale, were not disclosed.

The projects deliver power to the New York State wholesale power grid, which is run by an independent system operator, and are backed by a long-term energy hedge to protect against price volatility. Renewable energy certificates generated by the three projects are sold to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

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