UBS buys 50% Texas wind stake

Developer EDF Renewable Energy has sold a 50% equity interest in the newly operational 161MW Spinning Spur wind project in Texas to UBS International Infrastructure Fund.

EDF did not disclose financial details. The deal came immediately after EDF announced it had closed a structured equity financing transaction for the project with GE Energy Financial Services and MUFG Union Bank.

“Our investment in Spinning Spur II demonstrates our commitment to seek out infrastructure projects which generate stable, long term returns for the Fund consistent with our investment objective,” says Floyd Gent, head of Americas for UBS International Infrastructure Fund.

The project is UBS' second renewable acquisition.

It is located 40 miles (64.3km) west of Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle, epicenter of US wind activity. It utilizes 87 GE 1.85MW wind turbines with 87-meter rotors. Power is being sold under an 11-year off-take agreement.

“The announcement today exemplifies EDF Renewable Energy’s strategy to develop renewable energy projects with strong local community support, and first tier equipment suppliers and contractors, and then invite the investment from longstanding financial partners,” says EDF Renewable Energy chief executive Tristan Grimbert.

EDF will provide long-term operations and maintenance for the project, among the first to feed into the new $6.8bn Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) transmission infrastructure linking strong wind resource areas in the Panhandle and West Texas with major load centers.

With Spinning Spur II, EDF now has 472MW of wind generation capacity in Texas with another 700MW in late-stage development. It entered Texas in 2012.

Kevin Walsh, Managing Director of Power and Renewable Energy at GE Energy Financial Services, calls the project “well structured.” He says GE’s financial participation supports both its own growth and that of EDF Group.

GE Energy Financial Services now holds a portfolio of 12GW of wind projects in operation or under construction.

“EDF RE will retain substantial ownership in the facility and bring our expertise in operations and maintenance through EDF Renewable Services to optimize long-term investment profitability.”

With the Spinning Spur II project in operation, the Group’s installed capacity since entering the Texas market in 2012 reaches 472MW with another 700MW in late-stage development.