EDF Renewable Energy’s 175–megawatt (MW) Pilot Hill wind project located in Kankakee and Iroquois Counties in Illinois has closed structured equity financing from GE Unit GE Energy Financial Services and MetLife, Inc. .
Pilot Hill Wind Project, which has achieved commercial operations and is located about 60 miles southwest of Chicago, will power 100 percent of the energy needs of Microsoft Corporation’s Chicago data center. Microsoft has committed to purchase the output under a 20-year power purchase agreement. This is Microsoft’s second and largest wind energy deal which demonstrates its commitment to a neutral carbon footprint.
“Pilot Hill serves as another example of EDF Renewable Energy’s strategy to develop renewable energy projects with first tier equipment suppliers and contractors, and then invite the investment from longstanding financial partners,” commented Jim Peters, Vice President, Project Finance for EDF Renewable Energy. “EDF RE will manage the wind project and bring our expertise in operations and maintenance through EDF Renewable Services to optimize long-term investment profitability.”
“Investing in Pilot Hill contributes to the growth of EDF Renewable Energy, an important worldwide GE customer, builds on strong commercial interest in the renewable energy sector, and helps Microsoft meet its environmental goals,” said Kevin Walsh, managing director and head of renewable energy at GE Energy Financial Services.
Pilot Hill comprises 91 GE 1.7-100 and 12 GE 1.85-87 wind turbines. GE Energy Financial Services holds a portfolio of approximately 14 gigawatts of wind power projects in operation or under construction and plans to continue to invest over $1 billion annually in renewable energy projects worldwide, including in projects that utilize GE’s wind turbine technology.
“MetLife is proud to support efforts that drive sustainability, and we’re pleased to be working with EDF and GE on the Pilot Hill Wind project,” said Steven J. Goulart, executive vice president and chief investment officer for MetLife, Inc. “The Pilot Hill project aligns with MetLife’s approach to investing for the long term and builds upon the $3.5 billion we’ve invested in renewable energy projects.”
Pilot Hill will avoid approximately 365,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year – according to US Energy Environmental Protection Agency methodology – the equivalent of the annual emissions from approximately 77,000 passenger vehicles.