Tapping into a premier wind resource, Pattern Energy Group LP is starting construction of the 218-megawatt Panhandle Wind Project using Texas’ new Competitive Renewable Energy Zone transmission infrastructure and connecting to the state’s main power grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. GE (NYSE: GE) unit GE Energy Financial Services and Citigroup, Inc. (NYSE: C) unit Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. will invest structured equity in the project.
Located on 18,000 acres in Carson County 30 miles from Amarillo, Panhandle Wind will sell power to Citigroup Energy Inc. under a long-term hedge offtake agreement. Pattern – which developed the project, is serving as its managing member and will provide operations and maintenance – is receiving construction loans from BayernLB, Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Nord/LB, Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg, RBC, RBS and Societe Generale. Mortenson Construction is overseeing construction of Panhandle Wind, which will use 118 GE 1.85 megawatt, 87-meter turbines. Completion is estimated in August 2014. Financial details of the equity and debt transactions were not disclosed.
“Through our use of GE turbine technology and our partnership with financial institutions GE Energy Financial Services and Citigroup, we are harnessing the abundant wind resource of the Texas Panhandle to generate clean energy and to benefit the local communities,” said Pattern Energy CEO Mike Garland. “Panhandle Wind is creating more than 200 construction jobs and, over the project’s life, will contribute millions of dollars through a community benefits program and property taxes to Carson County, the White Deer and Panhandle School Districts, and the Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District.”
This project deepens the longstanding relationships that Pattern’s executives have developed with GE on previous wind projects.
“This investment allows us to grow by expanding our wind portfolio and demonstrates the diverse roles we play in renewable energy transactions,” said Kevin Walsh, Managing Director of Power and Renewable Energy at GE Energy Financial Services. GE Energy Financial Services holds a portfolio of approximately 11 gigawatts of wind power projects in operation or under construction.
“Citi is committed to developing innovative financing solutions for renewable energy projects, like the Panhandle Wind Project, which will provide hundreds of green jobs to the local economy and clean, renewable energy to thousands of Texans,” said Marshal Salant, Managing Director and Global Head, Citi Alternative Energy Finance. Since 2007, Citi has directed over $44.4 billion towards clean energy financing and investment as part of its 10-year, $50 billion Climate Initiative.
The Panhandle Wind Project will generate enough electricity to power 60,000 homes – according to US Energy Environmental Protection Agency methodology – avoiding approximately 460,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, the equivalent of the annual emissions from 96,000 US passenger vehicles.