A group comprising GE Energy Financial Services, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and Union Bank, N.A., has invested nearly $247 million in Wind Capital Group’s recently commissioned 201MW Post Rock wind farm. Wind Capital Group, supported by its parent company, NTR plc, maintains a substantial equity stake and serves as managing member of the project, located 80 miles outside Wichita, KS, in Ellsworth and Lincoln Counties. Additional details of the transaction were not disclosed.
“We are very pleased to be working with this well-established investor group and look forward to working together in the future. They each played an integral role in making the project a success,” Wind Capital Group Chief Executive Officer David Boyce says.
Michael McNicholas, Chief Executive Officer of NTR plc, adds, “Support from this group of investors has been critical to the success of Post Rock and underscores the importance and commercial viability of renewable energy projects. This is an important milestone for Wind Capital Group, and for NTR, which has identified renewable energy as core to our future growth strategy.”
In addition to providing 134 of its 1.5MW machines – the world’s most widely deployed wind turbine – GE is providing operations and maintenance services for Post Rock. The project is selling its electricity to Westar Energy, the largest electric utility in Kansas, under a long term power purchase agreement. Post Rock is Wind Capital Group’s second facility in operation using GE’s turbines. Together, the 201MW Post Rock project and the 150MW Lost Creek wind farm have a capacity to power approximately 120,000 Midwest homes.
“This project enabled us to expand GE’s already strong industrial partnership with Wind Capital Group,” says Kevin Walsh, managing director and head of power and renewable energy at GE Energy Financial Services. “In addition to our own investment, we are very pleased to partner with MetLife and Union Bank to round out the equity investor group.”
Post Rock’s benefits are wide-ranging. Wind Capital Group estimates that this project created approximately 150 jobs, attracted more than $1.5 million in economic activity for local businesses during development and construction, provides a new source of revenue for rural Kansans and helps the state meet its renewable energy portfolio targets. Post Rock is capable of powering more than 70,000 average homes and displacing about 815,000 tons per year of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking 145,000 average US cars off the road, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency methodology.
This is GE Energy Financial Services’ third investment in Kansas, following its 2009 investments in a 201MW wind farm in Meridian Way and a 101MW project in Smoky Hills. It expands the GE unit’s global wind portfolio, which comprises equity investments and debt financings for projects spanning 17 U.S. states and five countries, totaling almost 9,800MWin operation or under construction. GE Energy Financial Services’ wind investing supports GE’s broader ecomagination strategy to create value for customers by solving energy, efficiency and water challenges.