Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Update: Investing another $102 million in the Alta Wind Energy Center

Today, we’re increasing our investment in the Alta Wind Energy Center (AWEC) in Tehachapi, Calif. by providing another $102 million to finance the 168 MW Alta V Project. This adds to the $55 million we invested last month for the 102 MW Alta IV project. Citibank is joining us again to invest in Alta V.

We are particularly excited about AWEC because it will be one of the largest wind energy centers in the world, with over 1 GW of production scheduled to be on line by the end of the year and 1,550 MW when fully completed. It’ll deliver that energy using the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP), one of the first and largest transmission projects developed specifically for clean energy.

My colleague Arielle Bertman on a turbine at AWEC

As we noted before, the energy produced at AWEC will be sold to Southern California Edison under a power purchase agreement signed with the developer, Terra-Gen Power, in 2006. So we won’t be purchasing any of the energy produced at Alta V. Rather, we’re investors and will be using the same innovative leveraged lease financial structure we used for Alta IV, meaning Google and Citibank will own Alta V and lease it back to Terra-Gen, who will manage and operate both projects under long-term agreements. It’s a financial structure that we hope will encourage new types of investors to consider investing in wind.

With these two projects, we’ve now invested $157 million in 270 MW of clean, wind energy generation at AWEC. That brings our total invested to more than $780 million, with approximately $700 million invested this year alone -- all in projects that not only provide us attractive financial returns but also help to accelerate the deployment of over 1.7 GWs of clean renewable energy.

Posted by Rick Needham, Director of Green Business Operations

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