By Gary Thomas
GE Energy Financial Services has expanded its collaboration with Enel Green Power, an international renewable energy company, through a capital of roughly $156 million in common equity in Prairie Rose, a 200-MW wind project being constructed in southern Minnesota.
Now, GE Energy Financial Services owns 51% stake in the project and Enel Green Power’s subsidiary Enel Green Power North America holds the remaining stake through an investment of roughly $149 million. Enel Green Power North America is the manager of the wind power project. Besides providing capital, GE inked a deal with Enel Green Power North America in 2011 to deliver its 119 1.68-MW wind turbines for the project.
GE Energy Financial Services and Enel Green Power North America amassed tax equity worth roughly $190 million, which will be offered by a consortium headed by J. P. Morgan. The syndicate also comprises Metropolitan Life Insurance and Wells Fargo Wind. The tax equity will be provided at the completion of the project and will lower the ownership stakes of both GE Energy Financial Services and Enel Green Power North America in the project.
The estimated $305 million project is situated close to Hardwick, northwest of Luverne. Mortenson Construction based in Minneapolis manages the project construction, which is slated for completion later this year. Xcel Energy’s subsidiary Northern States Power Company will purchase the power produced from the wind farm through a 20-year contract. As per the deal, Enel Green Power North America will have the choice to acquire an additional 26% stake from GE Energy Financial Services later this year and in next year.
Enel Green Power’s strategic partner and Prairie Rose’s developer, Geronimo Wind Energy predicts that the wind project will generate around 300 construction jobs, a dozen permanent jobs, and contribute roughly $850,000 per year in new county and township taxes. The wind farm is anticipated to produce power to meet the electricity needs of 75,000 homes. Moreover, it will assist Minnesota fulfill its target to produce 25% of its electricity through renewable sources by 2025.