Terra-Gen Power has just received the financing needed to build the next four wind farms in the largest wind energy project on US soil. The company can now build another 570 MW of the gigantic 3,000 MW Alta Wind Energy Center, in the same energy-rich Tehachapi region of California where former Governor Jerry Brown jump-started the US wind industry back in the early ’80s with 55% tax credits. Back then, because of those policies, California led the nation in wind and solar.
Since those far-sighted and visionary days (Governor Brown was called Governor Moonbeam for crazy ideas like that) California has long since ceded its wind energy leadership to Texas.
But California’s next Governor could be the same man who started the US wind industry, that 30 years later has led to this wind farm in California, along with energy-efficient fridges, energy-efficient windows, 55% solar tax credits and California’s Title 24 energy-efficiency building standards that has kept Californian carbon footprints down to European levels ever since.
That same former Governor, Jerry Brown, now California’s Attorney General, is running for Governor, again. California is getting a second chance. In the same way, with this project built, California will once again have the largest wind energy project in America, overtaking the largest wind farm in Texas. A second chance at wind power leadership.
Southern California Edison has already signed a long-term power purchase agreement to buy power from the farm. The 3,000-megawatt Alta Wind Energy Center when completed would actually be a series of several massive wind farms about 116 miles north of Los Angeles. The first 150 MW phase, Alta Project I, already broke ground in March with financing of $394 million.
The $1.2 billion in financing from Citi, Barclays, and Credit Suisse will fund the next four wind farms comprising 570 MW of the 3,000 MW project. This may be the first wind project to be financed as a lease back from the bank. Citibank will purchase Alta Projects II through V once they’re in operation, and lease them back to Terra-Gen, who will operate and maintain the facilities. The first phase used GE turbines. The subsequent ones will come from Vestas.
Unlike most wind developers, Terra-Gen Power develops not only wind, but solar, and even geothermal projects.
Since former Governor Jerry Brown is on the ballot for Governor again this November (against Meg Whitman), this California wind milestone could coincide with a second term of clean energy-friendly policy, if California voters are smart.
There is a clear choice between the candidates on renewable energy.
Susan Kraemer @Twitter
Source: Green Tech
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