GE Buys Stake In California Wind Farm

GE, which said last month that its investments in renewables had reached the $6 billion mark, is picking up in 2011 right where it left off. The company’s Energy Financial Services unit announced it was sinking an undisclosed sum into an ambitious California wind power project that has a deal to provide power to the utility Southern California Edison.

GE Energy Financial Services said it and Bankers Commercial Corporation had acquired 50-percent shares apiece in the 150-megawatt (MW) Alta Wind I wind farm in Tehachapi, north of the Los Angeles Basin. GE said it would lease the plant back to developer, operator and manager Terra-Gen Power. Meanwhile, Terra-Gen said it would use the funds from the sale to pay off debt incurred in constructing the first phase of the Alta Wind Energy Center, which it hopes will grow to become the biggest such power producer in the United States at 3,000 MW capacity.

Alta Wind I, wind farm, Tehachapi, California

image via GE

The Alta Wind I phase of the operation had a GE tinge to it even before this deal: It uses 100 GE 1.5-MW SLE turbines.

Southern California Edison is contracted to receive the first 1,550 MWs of the hoped-for 3,000 MWs. According to GE, Alta Wind I is “the first project to connect with Southern California Edison’s Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project, the first major transmission project in California to be constructed specifically for accessing a renewable-rich resource area.”

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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