Tyr Energy sells 40% Florida biomass plant stake to Starwood

Starwood Energy Group Global has acquired 40% ownership of a 100MW biomass power plant under construction in Gainesville, Florida, making it the largest stakeholder among four in the project.

Financial terms were not released by seller Tyr Energy , an independent power producer and energy asset management firm jointly owned by Japanese trading giant Itochu Corp. and its US subsidiary Itochu International. The deal was finalized on 30 December, according to Starwood , a private equity investment firm.

The other project owners, each with about a 20% stake, are Energy Management Inc. (EMI), BayCorp Holdings and Ron Fagen, owner of a Minnesota construction company that is building the $500m plant. EMI is best known as developer of the Cape Wind project off Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

The Gainesville Renewable Energy Center (GREC) will sell all power and renewable energy certificates (RECs) to the City of Gainesville under a 30-year power purchase agreement the two sides reached in 2009. Construction began in March 2011 and plans call for commercial operation by late 2013.

The facility, which will burn wood tailings and waste, will be one of the largest biomass energy facilities in the US, providing power for 70,000 homes. GREC developers say the project will create 160 permanent jobs for biomass fuel procurement and 47 others to staff the plant.

Construction debt, which will be converted to term debt, is being provided through a commercial bank facility led by The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ,and a group of seven European and US banks.