Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, a global investment manager specializing in lower carbon and renewable energy infrastructure assets and GE announced that the Quinbrook Low Carbon Power Fund has closed construction and tax equity financing of the 200-MW first stage of the GE-powered 365-MW Persimmon wind farm project in Oklahoma.
“The Persimmon wind project is the perfect addition to Quinbrook’s growing wind portfolio, which now exceeds 2 GW,” said Shawn Cumberland, Senior Managing Director at Quinbrook. “We have also found an ideal partner in Elawan, who have successfully developed the project over several years in one of the US’ strongest wind regimes, Oklahoma. As partners, we have successfully navigated the many challenges arising from the recent US tax reform legislation and secured a very competitive financing package led by GE, as well as long-term offtake commitments with a first-rate counterparty.”
“GE Renewable Energy is a proven leader in wind turbine technology, paving the way to more affordable and efficient renewable power generation,” added Cumberland. “Elawan is an accomplished developer of wind projects, not only in the United States but also in Europe, Brazil and South Africa. The first stage of Persimmon represents a critical step in building out Quinbrook’s large-scale wind portfolio in the U.S., which will start generating cash returns for our investors from the middle of this year.”
Quinbrook recently acquired a 75% controlling equity stake in Persimmon and formed a joint venture with Elawan Wind (formerly Gestamp Wind), the initial developer of the project. Persimmon secured dual interconnection agreements for connection to the Southwest Power Pool network in Oklahoma, for up to 365-MW of capacity split into two phases. The first phase is 200 MW, with completion and first-generation scheduled for mid-2018. The Quinbrook and Elawan teams secured long-term offtake commitments with an investment grade counterparty to support the overall financing.
“In Quinbrook, we found a real partner that added tremendous value and high levels of cooperation to this process,” stated Javier Mateache, CEO of Elawan Wind, North America. “It’s an exciting time to be involved in the wind industry as it continues to expand its reach in the US. We’re honored to be undertaking this project with collaborators such as GE and Quinbrook who share our dedication to renewable energy.”
GE Renewable Energy is the project’s wind turbine supplier, providing 73 of its 2.5-MW turbines and seven 2.3-MW turbines. GE Energy Financial Services, the energy investing unit of GE, has committed to provide over $190 million of tax equity financing to the project and served as bookrunner, administrative agent, and lender for $252 million of credit facilities. GE Energy Financial Services has arranged financing from CIT, MUFG, and Rabobank, who were the Joint Lead Arrangers on the transaction.
Pete McCabe, President & CEO of GE’s Onshore Wind Business, said, “We are pleased to partner with Quinbrook and Gestamp on this exciting project as we work to bring wind power to more communities across the U.S. Persimmon is an example of GE’s scope, with GE Renewable Energy providing the technology and GE Energy Financial Services providing the tax equity and leading the construction debt.
Once operational, Persimmon is expected to generate nearly 900,000 MWh of zero emissions renewable power every year—equivalent to offsetting 630,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.