The investments include the Palouse Wind project in Washington and the Route 66 Wind project in Texas, which are currently under construction. First Wind will operate and manage both projects as the company continues to expand its third-party operations group.
Matt LeBlanc, CIO of OECD Infrastructure at J.P. Morgan Asset Management – Global Real Assets, stated:
“We are very excited to add the Palouse and Route 66 wind projects to the list of assets we advise and establish a partnership with First Wind on behalf of our clients. These are high quality projects, exhibiting solid financial and operating fundamentals, that we anticipate will produce stable and growing yields and total returns for our investors over the long term.”
Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind, commented:
“Attracting strong investors such as those advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management reinforces that First Wind is building high-value, financially viable projects. This transaction also provides First Wind capital to continue our efforts to develop and build new clean energy projects. First Wind will continue to operate the projects, as we grow our operations capabilities. We will continue to focus on serving our local communities in Washington and Texas while generating cost-competitive clean energy to homes and businesses.”
As the largest renewable energy facility in Whitman County, the Palouse Wind project features 58 state-of-the-art Vestas V100-1.8 MW turbines located near the town of Oakesdale, Washington. The project achieved commercial operations in December 2012, and the wind power from the project interconnects to the Avista 230kV Benewah-to-Shawnee transmission line. Palouse Wind harnesses enough wind to generate up to 105 MW for Whitman County and much of the Northwest – enough to provide power for the equivalent of as many as 30,000 homes in Eastern Washington. The energy company Avista is purchasing the power and delivering it to homes and businesses in the region.
Route 66 is a 150 MW wind project under construction in Armstrong and Carson Counties near Amarillo, Texas. Construction began in late 2013 and is slated to be completed in 2015. Once complete, the project will be comprised of 75 Vestas V110 turbines with a capacity of 2 MW each that will deliver clean energy to the ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) power markets through the new CREZ (Competitive Renewable Energy Zone) transmission system. The project is expected to power about 49,000 Texas homes annually.