Some welcome news on the US wind energy front: E.ON Climate & Renewables North America on June 4 announced that it had secured $150 million of institutional equity financing for its 150-MW Pioneer Trail Wind Farm from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Located in central Illinois’ Ford and Iroquois counties, E.ON Climate & Renewables intends to install 94 GE 1.6-MW turbines on the site, enough to power more than 45,000 homes. The GE wind turbines, blades and towers are all manufactured in the US.
In addition to providing clean, renewable electricity and avoiding CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions, the Pioneer Trail Wind Farm project is expected to yield more than $29 million in local taxes, $8 million in local salaries, and reward landowners with more than $50 million, according to E.ON.
Illinois on the Wind Energy Fast Track
Wind energy’s been growing rapidly in Illinois. With its first wind farm having been built in 2003, Illinois can now boast of having an installed wind power base totaling more than 2,500 MW, enough to power nearly 1 million homes with emissions-free electricity, according to the Illinois Wind Energy Coalition.
Moreover, Illinois ranked seventh in Clean Edge’s recently released Clean Energy State Index, which ranks US states across a spectrum of more than 70 indicators, including technology, policy, and capital.
BofA Merrill Lynch gained an undisclosed partial equity stake in the project in return for providing equity capital. The investment is the latest in the bank’s long-term commitment to invest in renewable energy and the green economy.
“Our investment in the Pioneer Trail Wind Farm is another step in Bank of America’s 10-year, $20 billion environmental business commitment,” Todd Karas, president of Banc of America Public Capital Corp, stated in a press release.
“E.ON is a significant BofA Merrill institutional client, and we are pleased to have expanded our relationship through this renewable energy project that also supports the local Illinois economy.” Public Capital Corp. includes BofA Merrill’s Renewable Energy Finance group.
I've been reporting and writing on a wide range of topics at the nexus of economics, technology, ecology/environment and society for some five years now. Whether in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa or the Middle East, issues related to these broad topical areas pose tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, and define the quality of our lives, as well as our relationship to the natural environment.