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United States

Wells Fargo a major tax equity investor

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What a difference a year makes for Wells Fargo. The nation's fourth largest bank has quickly become a major tax equity investor in wind power following the announcement of its corporate commitment to renewables in July 2005. "We had zero dollars invested in wind power a little over a year ago," says the company's Barry Neal. "Now about 79% of our $200 million renewable energy investment is in wind. I expect we'll be over a half billion dollars a year from now." Wells Fargo's wind farm investments include three Airtricity projects in Texas, an Enxco plant in Minnesota and UPC's Mars Hill development in Maine -- nearly 600 MW in all. "We closed our first one in May of '06 and we've done four since that time," Neal says. The company expects to announce its sixth project this summer. "It'll be the largest one yet," he says. "We firmly believe this market will continue to grow." The bank has also climbed the nationwide list of renewable energy credit (REC) purchasers. Wells Fargo now sits between PepsiCo and Whole Foods atop the Environmental Protection Agency's latest quarterly rankings. "We decided to purchase RECs from wind farms exclusively," Neal says. "We're deeply committed to this."

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