US developer Longroad hails 600MW Vestas deal

Vestas has clinched an order for components from Longroad Energy Holdings, a development group set up by former First Wind executives and backed by the New Zealand government, that could enable development of more than 600MW-worth of fully PTC-eligible wind capacity.

The deal was done before the end of 2016, allowing projects that use the equipment by the end of 2020 to get 100% benefit from the PTC (production tax credit), which began stepping down from the 1 January this year.

Longroad, which offers development, asset management and operations services, said it “expects to utilise the components to qualify projects in its own pipeline as well as projects which may be currently owned by other developers or project owners”.

Longroad was set up last year by a clutch of senior executives who worked together at First Wind, the pioneering US wind developer that was bought for $2.4bn in early 2015 by SunEdison, the ill-starred renewable giant which filed for bankruptcy last April.

Investors in Longroad include the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, New Zealand’s sovereign wealth fund, and investment group Infratil.

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Longroad is led by CEO Paul Gaynor, who held the same post at First Wind before its acquisition and was a co-founder of the company in 2004.

Gaynor said: “Given the increasingly competitive position of wind power in certain markets, this is an important step in creating growth opportunities for Longroad. We look forward to bringing low-cost projects to the market.”

Other First Wind veterans on the Longroad team include the company’s former finance chief Michael Alvarez, treasurer Peter Keel and corporate development head Charles Spiliotis.

A statement from Longroad announcing the Vestas deal said its principals “have been responsible for developing, financing, building, and monetising nearly 4GW of utility scale renewable projects in the US”.

Vestas North America president Chris Brown said: “We are happy to continue our long-standing and successful relationship with the Longroad team.”

The Danish group declined to comment further on the details of the order.

For Vestas the deal is the latest to emerge in a stellar end to 2016 that was driven by sales the US as developers placed orders to beat the PTC deadline.

The Danish group has disclosed 9.27GW of orders for the full year 2016, with further unannounced deals still to be added to the final total – a tally that already beats the 8.94GW it clocked up for 2015 as a whole.

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