Brooklyn-based OwnEnergy has entered into an agreement with a fund managed by BlackRock, whereby BlackRock acquired OwnEnergy's latest renewable energy project in Windthorst, Texas. Once completed, the new wind farm will generate 68 megawatts (MW) of wind power on to the state's power grid.
Under the agreement, BlackRock will purchase a majority interest in the Windthorst-2 project, Morgan Stanley and its affiliates will provide construction financing and J.P. Morgan will provide institutional equity. OwnEnergy will maintain a minority ownership interest in Windthorst-2, manage its construction, and oversee operations once it comes online. Construction is scheduled to begin in December 2013, with commercial operations expected in fall 2014.
"Windthorst-2 is our fifth successful project bringing the total of in-construction and spinning wind farms we've developed to more than 210 megawatts. OwnEnergy's project pipeline now consists of 1,400 MW of community-scale wind across 16 states," said OwnEnergy Founder and CEO Jacob Susman. "Adding construction and asset management capabilities to our offering allows us to work directly with world-class financial institutions, like BlackRock, J.P. Morgan, and Morgan Stanley, while creating a lasting connection between them and the energy entrepreneurs who are the cornerstone of our development model."
The Windthorst-2 Project marks the second time OwnEnergy has collaborated with energy entrepreneur, Horn Wind. The Windthorst, TX family-owned business was established in 2006 to bring wind development to the region. In 2008, OwnEnergy and Horn Wind developed and sold Windthorst-1, now known as the Bobcat Bluff Wind Farm.
"We view the involvement of a financial institution of BlackRock's caliber as reinforcement that OwnEnergy is a permanent, long-term fixture of the US wind industry," continued Susman.
Jim Barry, Managing Director at BlackRock, commented: "We are pleased to have invested in the Texas wind energy sector and in particular through the Windthorst-2 project. We look forward to developing our relationship with such a high quality asset developer as OwnEnergy."
The project is expected to create 95 to 125 temporary construction jobs and 5 to 7 long-term positions during the operation of the wind farm. The Windthorst-2 project will also bring approximately $42.8 million in economic impact to the region. Once operational, the wind farm will feature 28 Siemens 2.3 MW turbines.