A private-equity firm, a wind energy developer, a state funding program, an agricultural community leader and a group of university administrators have all been part of the story behind a 30 MW utility-scale wind farm going up in three townships in rural Pennsylvania.
Patton Wind Farm plans to sell power into the merchant market, Brooklyn-based developer OwnEnergy said in announcing today the sale of the project to European private equity firm Terra Firma’s EverPower Wind Holding subsidiary. The project already has an interconnection with local electricity market operator PJM Interconnection.
New York City’s Brooklyn borough has built a reputation as a home for new wind industry start-ups. Breaking Energy spoke in depth with the founder of Brooklyn’s Wind Analytics: Read about it here.
Terra Firma has been on a wind project development spree in Pennsylvania, building to its planned 300 MW of operating assets in the commonwealth by the end of 2012, EverPower Wind CEO Jim Spencer said. The Patton wind farm will be EverPower’s fourth project in the state, adding to the 62.5 MW Highland Wind Farm, the 75 MW Highland North wind farm and the planned 140 MW Twin Ridges wind farm. Patton is currently set to be fully operational by the end of 2012.
OwnEnergy began working to develop the wind farm by working with a local landowner partner, Marty Yahner, after meteorological tests conducted by the Renewable Energy Center at Saint Francis University evaluated the area and then requested proposals from community wind developers, a process that was won by OwnEnergy.
The project, which is forecast by EverPower to create roughly 100 construction jobs and up to 10 full-time jobs in the area, is supported by $3.2 million in funding from a renewable energy program run by the Commonwealth Financing Authority.
Wind farms have been major beneficiaries of public funding efforts for renewable energy, including the 1603 program currently threatened by a looming expiration date in Congress. Financing has been hampered in recent months both by that expiration and broader uncertainties that have sapped bank interest in lending to energy projects, including a pull-back by European banks in the US energy market as they grapple with an ongoing sovereign debt crisis.
Terra Firma, the wind farm’s new owner, is a multi-billion-dollar private equity group that “typically raises funds from large institutional investors such as insurance companies, endowments, charitable foundations and public and private pension funds,” the firm says. It aims to make above-market returns by focusing on asset-rich companies that are challenged by what the firm believes is an incorrect broader market consensus.