EDF Renewable Energy announced today that the 161-megawatt (MW) Spinning Spur II Wind Project in Texas has reached commercial operation (COD). The company further announced the close of structured equity financing from GE Energy Financial Services (NYSE: GE) and MUFG Union Bank, N.A. The completion of construction and COD milestone allows the closing of the sale of 50 percent of EDF Renewable Energy’s equity interest in the project to UBS International Infrastructure Fund. Financial details were not disclosed.
Spinning Spur II commenced construction of 87 GE 1.85-megawatt, 87-meter rotor wind turbines 40 miles west of Amarillo in June 2013. The power is sold pursuant to an 11-year purchase agreement. The project is one of the first to feed into the new CREZ (Competitive Renewable Energy Zone) transmission infrastructure which enables access to the strong renewable resources of West Texas and the Texas Panhandle and delivery of the wind energy resource to the high electricity demand areas in the state. Texas leads the country in installed wind capacity with 12,300 megawatts, enough clean electricity to power 3.3 million average homes in the United States.1
“The announcement today exemplifies EDF Renewable Energy’s strategy to develop renewable energy projects with strong local community support, and first tier equipment suppliers and contractors, and then invite the investment from longstanding financial partners,” commented Tristan Grimbert, President and CEO of EDF Renewable Energy. “EDF RE will retain substantial ownership in the facility and bring our expertise in operations and maintenance through EDF Renewable Services to optimize long-term investment profitability.” With the Spinning Spur II project in operation, the Group’s installed capacity since entering the Texas market in 2012 reaches 472 MW with another 700 MW in late-stage development.
Spinning Spur II is UBS International Infrastructure Fund’s sixth investment and its second renewables acquisition. Floyd Gent, Head of Americas for UBS International Infrastructure Fund said, “Our investment in Spinning Spur II demonstrates our commitment to seek out infrastructure projects which generate stable, long term returns for the Fund consistent with our investment objective. Further, partnering with EDF Renewable Energy with its experience and track record in North America and other global markets was a key consideration in our decision to invest in Spinning Spur II. We are very pleased with the success of the project and the working relationship that we have established together with EDF RE. All of the parameters we agreed upon in late 2013 including the success of the financing structure, construction of the project, and bringing wind energy to the grid have all been achieved within the timeline and with safety as the top priority.”
Kevin Walsh, Managing Director of Power and Renewable Energy at GE Energy Financial Services, added, “Our investment in this well-structured project supports the growth of EDF Group, an important worldwide GE customer, as well as our strategy to grow by combining expertise, capital, and technology.” GE Energy Financial Services holds a portfolio of approximately 12 gigawatts of wind power projects in operation or under construction.
“We are pleased to once again partner with EDF Renewable Energy and are proud to be part of a project that will provide long-term, clean, competitively priced power to the state of Texas. This partnership is another strong example of our strategy to be the leading financial solutions provider for renewable energy,” said Lance Markowitz, Managing Director of Leasing and Merchant Banking at MUFG Union Bank, N.A. MUFG owns interests in approximately 2,230 MW in renewables in the United States and is currently #2 in the Americas and #1 in North America in the Project Finance League Tables.
Spinning Spur II will generate enough electricity to power approximately 44,000 homes – according to US Energy Environmental Protection Agency methodology – avoiding approximately 332,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, the equivalent of the annual emissions from approximately 70,000 passenger vehicles.
EDF Renewable Services will provide long-term operations and maintenance for the facility, balance of plant, project oversight, and 24/7 remote monitoring from its NERC compliant Operations Control Center (OCC). The OCC provides an efficient, reliable, and secure operating platform, while benefiting from the centralization of SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) functions and consolidation of multiple vendor SCADA environments to provide a common operating view. EDF Renewable Services is an industry leader, providing O&M services to more than 7.4 gigawatts of renewable energy projects across North America.
1 AWEA U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report Year Ending 2013
About EDF Renewable Energy:
EDF Renewable Energy is a leading U.S. independent power producer with more than 25 years of expertise in the renewable industry, covering all range of services from project development, management to operations and maintenance. EDF Renewable Energy specializes in wind and solar photovoltaic with presence in other segments of the renewable energy market: biogas, biomass, hydro, marine energy and storage solutions. The company develops, constructs, operates and manages renewable energy projects throughout the United States for its own accord as well as for third parties. EDF Renewable Energy’s portfolio consists of 4 gigawatts of developed projects with 1.9 gigawatts of installed capacity. EDF Renewable Energy is the U.S. subsidiary of EDF Energies Nouvelles. EDF Energies Nouvelles is the renewable energy arm of the EDF group, the leading electricity company in the world.