Update: NRG swoops for Alta Wind

NRG Yield has struck a deal to buy the biggest operating US wind complex – the near-1GW Alta Wind Energy Center (AWEC) facility in California.

NRG Yield – the “yieldco” spun out of NRG Energy – will pay developer Terra-Genn Power $870m and assume $1.6bn of financing.

The buyer will get the 947MW of operating wind capacity at Alta Wind in Tehachapi, plus land leases.

NRG Yield said it will fund the deal through a mixture of new debt, equity and cash.

Involved in the deal are Alta I (150MW); Alta II (150MW); Alta III (150MW); Alta IV (102MW); Alta V (168MW); Alta X (137MW) and Alta XI (90MW).

Alta 1, X and XI utilize GE turbines and the others Vestas.

The deal means NRG Yield and NRG Energy between them will boast a 2.84GW wind portfolio, claimed to be the fifth-largest operating in North America behind NextEra Energy Resources, Iberdrola Renewables, Berkshire Hathaway Energy and EDPR Renewables.

David Crane, CEO of NRG Yield said: “The acquisition of the largest wind facility on the North American continent highlights not only our commitment to carbon-free generation, but also the strength of our acquisition capabilities to compete for contracted assets of world-class quality in the competitive marketplace.”

The wind complex attracted investment from the likes of Google during its development. It has PPAs in place with utility Southern California Edison.

NRG Yield expects to close the transaction in the third quarter of 2014, subject to various regulatory approvals.

Terra-Gen, an affiliate of private equity firm ArcLight Capital Partners and infrastructure fund Global Infrastructure Partners, will use proceeds from the sale to repay debt and for additional corporate purposes.

Terra-Gen Operating Company will continue to provide asset management, and operations and maintenance services to Alta Wind after the sale.

Terra-Gen acquired AWEC in June 2008 and subsequently developed and constructed 11 interconnected wind projects totaling 1.547GW. It since divested the other facilities not included in today's deal.