New York Residents and Companies Offered Chance to Invest in Community Wind Farm

black oak community wind farm

Black Oak Wind Farm, LLC (Black Oak) has just opened a new equity investment round for New York residents and companies, to join the existing investors in owning a group of GE turbines on a ridge in the Finger Lakes region. Black Oak has the goal of building a 7-turbine wind farm in the Town of Enfield, in Tompkins County, NY.

An AA credit rating institution is purchasing all the power output from the project for ten years. The project was awarded a ten-year contract with NYSERDA for its Renewable Energy Credits, and qualifies for the Federal Investment Tax Credit.

Project Manager Marguerite Wells has been working on bringing this to fruition for seven years and is so invested that she will see the turbines from her farm in Enfield. Her vision for community ownership stems from the fact that most wind farms don’t allow local residents to invest in the projects they live among.

“I asked myself a long time ago…if wind farms are profitable then why shouldn’t they be owned by regular local people instead?” stated Wells.  “I quickly learned that wind farm financing is extremely complex, and although community ownership is a common model inEurope, there are few such projects here in the US.”

One similar project is South Dakota Wind Partners, a 7-turbine wind farm owned by 614 South Dakotans. Val-Add Service Corporation, the financial consultants who developed that project, are members of the Black Oak team, as is Juhl Energy, based in Pipestone, MN.The PPA was negotiated by Altenex; GE will be providing both the turbines (1.7-100’s) and the O&M services. Tetra Tech Construction, based in Gloversville, NY will build the project; COD is expected Fall 2015.

Black Oak has uniquely protected itself against the financial risk caused by wind variability, through the use of an innovative risk management product offered by Nephila Capital, in partnership with REsurety. Nephila Capital, the world’s largest investment manager dedicated to natural catastrophe and weather risk transfer, provides the risk capacity for the hedge. REsurety provides Nephila with the cutting-edge analytics required to structure and settle the hedge.

The investment opportunity comes in two parts- the current round is open only to accredited investors in the State of New York, with another round opening this fall for non-accredited investors. Beginning in September and into the fall, Black Oak will be hosting meetings throughout the state to present people with in-depth information. Go to www.blackoakwindny.com for detailed information about the investment opportunity, contact information, and for the schedule of meetings. An overview of this project can also be found in this video. This is the first time ordinary New York residents have had the chance to directly support wind development in our state.

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