Algonquin closes 400MW US buy-up

Algonquin, the Canadian utility and renewables developer, has finalised its acquisition of the remaining 40% of a 400MW US wind portfolio it began buying in late 2012 from Spanish wind group Gamesa.

Two years ago the companies agreed a $900m deal that would have seen Algonquin buying four US wind farms totalling 480MW from Gamesa.

However, Algonquin ultimately declined to buy one of the wind farms, the 80MW Pocahontas Prairie in Iowa, reportedly due to grid-congestion issues in the area.

Instead, Algonquin agreed to raise its stakes in the other three projects - the 200MW Minonk in Illinois, the 150MW Senate in Texas, and the 50MW Sandy Ridge in Pennsylvania - from 51% to 60%.

Late last year Toronto-listed Algonquin, which is rapidly swelling its wind portfolio across North America, agreed to spend another $117m buying those three wind farms outright.

All three wind farms -- as well as Pocahontas -- were developed and kitted out by Gamesa using its G9X-2.0MW turbines. Gamesa, which recently shuttered its blade plant in Pennsylvania, will stay on to provide O&M services.

The projects will contribute “accretive, low-risk earnings and cash flow” to the Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. (APUC), says chief executive Ian Robertson.

In a separate deal, Algonquin last year acquired Goldwind's 109MW Shady Oaks wind farm in Illinois, its second US wind buy-in.

In addition to its Algonquin Power subsidiary, which owns the company’s growing fleet of wind, hydro and gas plants, APUC also owns the regulated US electric utility Liberty.

Algonquin has a number of major renewables projects in its near-term pipeline, including its first utility-scale solar plant -- a 10MW array in Ontario -- due for commissioning this year, and the 177MW wind farm underway in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.