Palouse Wind Gets $210M Financing Boost

First Wind, a Boston-based wind energy company, has announced that it has obtained $210 million in financing for its Palouse Wind subsidiary, which owns the 105-megawatt (MW) Palouse Wind project, currently under construction in Washington state. The company recently selected Vestas turbines for the facility, and began construction at the site in October.

Palouse Wind is situated on private land between the town of Oakesdale and U.S. 195, south of Spokane. The project will feature 58 Vestas 1.8 MW wind turbines, with the capacity to generate enough electricity to power about 30,000  homes. Energy produced at the facility will be purchased by Avista, which is required under Washington’s renewable energy standard to source 15 percent of its power from renewable resources by 2020.

Vestas, Zayed Future Energy Prize

image via Vestas

The financing deal closes a construction loan of approximately $170 million for Palouse Wind, and letters of credit of up to $40 million. Palouse Wind’s financing partners include KeyBank National Association, Nordduetsche Landesbank Girozentrale, CoBank ACB, and Banco Santander. The project is expected to generate an average of 100-200 jobs during construction, and will result in $30 million of spending with local businesses in Whitman County and the Northwest. Project partners say that Palouse Wind will generate approximately $12 million in property tax revenues over the next 20 years in Whitman County. The project is expected to be fully operational before the end of 2012.

“After nearly four years of preparation and permitting, we are very pleased to see the Palouse Wind project moving forward, providing a source of clean, renewable energy for Northwest residents and businesses,” First Wind CEO Paul Gaynor said in a statement. “We appreciate the commitment of our financial partners and the support of Avista as our utility PPA partner. It is clear the financial markets view this development as a strong, viable, and well-planned wind project.”

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).