Renewable energy generation and energy storage group, Gaelectric, has raised $84 million in funding for its portfolio of onshore wind energy projects on the island of Ireland. The portfolio comprises 164 MW of generation capacity across 13 projects which the Group plans to develop out by 2017, representing a total investment in the region of $325 million. Gaelectric is developing a further pipeline of 510 MW of wind energy projects centred on Montana to supply power markets in the Pacific North West and California within the 2014 to 2017 timeframe. Gaelectric has also concluded a framework agreement with leading German turbine manufacturer Enercon which will see Enercon technology deployed on all the Gaelectric sites covered by the current funding round for its Irish projects.
The funding is led by Swedish group, Proventus Capital Partners, who specialize inproviding development capital through private corporate loans to mid-sized companies for growth. Gaelectric was assisted with the transaction by McCann Fitzgerald and by RBC Capital Markets
The funding provided by Proventus Capital Partners has been complemented by a senior debt package structured and provided by Nord LB. This debt financing has been used to finance the construction of a 13.8 MW wind energy project in Northern Ireland which is currently being commissioned by Gaelectric at Carn Hill, Co Antrim.
Commenting on the successful conclusion of its latest funding round, Gaelectric USA President, Eamonn McGrath, said:
"The funding we have secured will, together with our agreement with Enercon, underpin the delivery of our onshore wind energy portfolio in Ireland which comprises approximately 164 MW of projects and represents a total investment cost of approximately $325 million. We are particularly delighted with the opportunity to partner with Proventus, Nord LB and Enercon, all of whom have international reputations and track records that will be of immediate benefit to Gaelectric."
Mr. McGrath added: "We will also build on our success in the UK and Irish markets by adding another 510 MW of Procurement Category 1 wind projects from Montana to California for delivery from 2014 to 2017 to Gaelectric's growing renewable energy portfolio."
Mr. McGrath said: "In our discussions with funders and investors we have been able to provide clear visibility of a portfolio of projects in Ireland which have been substantially de-risked and which will be commissioned by 2017. In Ireland, we now have 120 MW of wind energy projects with full planning approval and grid connection offers. 18 MW of this portfolio will be generating renewable power by Q1, 2013. Our onshore portfolio in Ireland will create sufficient generation capacity to power the energy needs of 85,000 homes and displace 262,000 tons of CO2 per annum."
Mr. McGrath said: "This amount of generation capacity opens up a range of strategically important options to Gaelectric Group. It will allow Gaelectric transition from being a pre-revenue, renewable energy development Group to an energy development and operating Group with significant assets in Ireland producing renewable power, generating turnover and cash for the Group, and further returns for our shareholders and investors."
Through its energy storage division, Gaelectric Energy Storage (GES), Gaelectric is developing an energy storage project utilising Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) technology at a site near the town of Larne, on the northeast coast of Ireland. Eamonn McGrath said: "Our energy storage business is in advanced discussions with a number of infrastructure investors on our flagship 268 MW compressed air energy storage project in Larne. We expect to form a consortium by year end that will construct the project by 2016/2017. This technology will be applied to store surplus renewable energy while also enabling variability balancing on the transmission system."