Starwood pins Stephens Ranch funds

Starwood Energy Group, the US private-equity firm, has nailed down deals to finance and construct its second wind farm, the 165MW second phase of the Stephens Ranch project in northwestern Texas.

The project’s tax-equity investors – Citi, Morgan Stanley, and MUFG – will provide a non-recourse construction debt facility worth $207m, with Starwood putting up all of the necessary cash equity.

Finance was clinched earlier this year for the 211MW first phase at the Stephens Ranch complex, which is currently under construction some 30km outside of Lubbock, TX.

The tax-equity investors and construction-loan lenders for the first phase were Citi, GE Financial Services and Banco Santander.

The combined 376MW Stephens Ranch project – which will employ GE 1.7MW turbines – was acquired by Starwood Energy Group a year ago from the T. Boone Pickens-owned Mesa Power.

The first phase of Stephens Ranch is due for completion by the end of the year, and the second phase by mid-2015.

North Dakota-based Wanzek Construction, which has diversified into wind and solar from its roots in the oil and gas services industry, is building both phases of Stephens Ranch.

An affiliate of private real estate group Starwood Capital Group, Connecticut-based Starwood Energy has put North American wind at the fore of its recent investment strategy, alongside adjacent sectors like natural gas and transmission.

Starwood Energy has more than $2bn under management, coming from pension plans, insurance companies and other institutional investors – with a significant chunk allocated to renewables.