Largest Wind Farm on Native Lands Goes on Line
Electricity from the largest wind power farm on Indian land has begun flowing into California's power-hungry grid thanks to a partnership between project sponsor, global investment and advisory firm Babcock & Brown (ASX:BNB) and GE Energy Financial Services. Energy Financial Services invested $51 million in the 50-megawatt Kumeyaay Wind project near San Diego.
The wind farm comprises 25 turbines that each can generate two megawatts of electricity. After eight months of construction and a month of testing, the turbines are feeding power into the San Diego Gas & Electric grid from the Campo Indian Reservation atop the Tecate Divide 70 miles east of San Diego and 18 miles north of the Mexican border. Babcock & Brown, which will retain a substantial equity interest and remain the long-term manager, has six wind facilities in the United States that will go into service by year's end.
"The Kumeyaay project represents significant growth of our already sizeable renewable energy portfolio. Consistent with GE's ecomagination initiative, it builds on our investments earlier this year in seven German wind farms, and continues our productive relationship with Babcock & Brown," said Alex Urquhart, President and CEO of GE Energy Financial Services.
Ecomagination is GE's commitment to expand its portfolio of "cleaner" energy products while reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions.
"For us, this transaction is consistent with our strategy of working with investment partners to expand in the rapidly growing wind energy sector, particularly in the United States and also continues our long and successful relationship with GE in power," said Hunter Armistead, Vice President of Babcock & Brown Power Operating Partners.
For the Campo tribe, the wind farm diversifies its income from the lease of the land beneath the turbines.
The Kumeyaay Wind farm annually will produce power sufficient for about 30,000 homes and will save approximately 110,000 tons a year in greenhouse gas emissions, compared with equivalent fossil fuel generation. It will help San Diego Gas & Electric meet its target of supplying at least 20 percent of its customers' electricity from renewable sources by 2010.
The transaction is the second renewable energy investment in San Diego County by GE Energy Financial Services this year. The first, in April, was an investment in solar roofs covering 14 of the City's public schools.
About GE Energy Financial Services
GE Energy Financial Services, based in Stamford, Conn., invests about $3 billion annually in the world's most capital-intensive industry, energy. With more than $10 billion in assets, GE Energy Financial Services offers structured equity, leveraged leasing, partnerships, project finance and broad-based commercial finance to the global energy industry from wellhead to wall socket. Energy Financial Services has developed a strong record investing in solar, biomass, hydro, wind and geothermal power, and is growing its portfolio of more than a half-billion dollars in renewable energy assets. For more information, visit www.geenergyfinancialservices.com.
GE (NYSE: GE) is Imagination at Work -- a diversified technology, media and financial services company focused on solving some of the world's toughest problems. With products and services ranging from aircraft engines, power generation, water processing and security technology to medical imaging, business and consumer financing, media content and advanced materials, GE serves customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit www.ge.com.
About Babcock & Brown
Babcock & Brown is a global investment, asset management and advisory firm with longstanding capabilities in structured finance, financial placements and asset management of cash flow-based investments. Babcock & Brown was formed in 1977 and is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
Babcock & Brown operates from 18 offices across Australia, the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa, and has in excess of 600 employees worldwide. Babcock & Brown has five operating divisions, including real estate, infrastructure and project finance, operating leasing, structured finance and corporate finance. The company has established a funds management platform across the operating divisions that has resulted in the establishment of a number of focused investment vehicles in areas including real estate and infrastructure.
Babcock & Brown Wind Partners (ASX: BBW) is a specialist wind energy fund focused on the growing global wind energy generation industry listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. BBW holds an interest in a global portfolio of wind farm assets diversified by geography, currency, equipment, suppliers, customer and regulatory regime. Currently BBW has an economic interest in 15 wind farms across Australia, Spain, Germany and the USA with a total installed capacity of over 670 MW. The fund is managed by a subsidiary of global investment and advisory firm Babcock & Brown.
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