Uncertain policy in America is not stopping billion dollar turbine deals. Last month GE Energy announced two separate orders for supply of a combined 1250 MW of wind power capacity to two of American's leading wind project developers, Chicago-based Invenergy and the American arm of Britain's Renewable Energy Systems, RES Americas.
In the bigger of the two deals, Invenergy is buying 750 MW of GE 1.5 MW turbines for North American projects in 2010. The order comes on the heels of an 800 MW deal with GE in November to supply projects mainly in North America, but also in Europe. The combined orders are worth more than $2 billion.
"We're now in excess of 2900 MW of capacity that we've purchased from GE for North American projects," says Invenergy's Pat West. "We expect to be adding to our portfolio at a pace of six hundred to eight hundred megawatt annually for the foreseeable future. We certainly wanted to be sure to lock up supply on the wind turbine side in order to meet that expected demand."
The company is not intending to broker any of the turbines to third parties, assures West. "Everything we procure is purchased to serve our own internal development," he says. Close to 300 MW of wind power has been brought online by Invenergy in the past year and another 600 MW is expected by the end of 2008 (table).
Invenergy's turbine deals with GE increasingly also involve GE Energy Financial Services (GEEFS), which refers to the link as a "growing collaboration." GEEFS announced last month that it was teaming up with Invenergy for the third time to take an equity interest in two wind farms on the way -- the company's 150 MW McAdoo wind farm east of Lubbock, Texas, and the 99 MW Grand Ridge project in Illinois, 80 miles southwest of Chicago. The size of GEEFS' stakes in the projects was not released.
GEEFS is already a part owner of Invenergy's 129 MW Forward Energy wind farm in Wisconsin and the company's 120 MW Stanton wind farm in Texas. The most recent investments means GEEFS now holds equity in more than 70 wind farms worldwide with a combined capacity of 4 GW.
Despite the close links, Invenergy is not exclusively wedded to GE. While most Invenergy projects use GE machines, two facilities use Vestas equipment, points out West: the 27 MW Buffalo Mountain project in Tennessee and in Europe the 50 MW Tymien project in Poland. Furthermore, an upcoming Invenergy 99 MW project in New York's Delaware County, called Moresville, is also slated to use Vestas 3 MW turbines.
In the second of the two turbine supply agreements announced by GE, it is to supply RES Americas with 500 MW of turbines in a deal worth more than $700 million. The machines are destined for North American projects in 2009 and 2010. RES Americas has built more than 1100 MW of wind power in the US and says it has another 1000 MW under construction.
GEEFS may also manoeuvre its way into the 500 MW deal. It already has links with RES Americas and is investing $350 million in RES's 166 MW Hackberry facility in Shackelford County, Texas, expected online in December. This project, however, uses Siemens 2.3 MW turbines, not GE technology.