Mojave, Calif., May 24, 2011 — Google and Citi will finance part of the Alta Wind Energy Center being developed by Terra-Gen Power, an affiliate of ArcLight Capital Partners and Global Infrastructure Partners, in Tehachapi, California.
Comprised of several distinct phases, AWEC will ultimately have a generating capacity of 1,550 MW when completed — nearly double the capacity of the largest currently operating U.S. wind energy installation and large enough to supply power to 1.2 million people in 450,000 homes.
Citi has underwritten the equity financing for Alta Projects II-V, totaling 570 MW. Citi and Google will each have invested $55 million in the 102 MW Alta IV project.
The initial five Alta projects, with a generating capacity of 720 MW, are now completed and providing electricity to the grid, representing a 25 percent increase in installed wind capacity for the state of California. Another 300 MW will be constructed and online by the end of this year, making AWEC the nation's largest wind facility at 1,020 MW.
The operating AWEC projects are already helping California utilities meet the state's aggressive renewable portfolio standards. Under a power purchase agreement signed in 2006, AWEC will supply all of its 1,550 MW of wind energy capacity to Southern California Edison.
The Alta projects will use a new transmission line developed as part of the 4,500 MW Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project, the first major transmission project in California built to transport electricity from remote, clean energy resources in the Tehachapi region to population centers in Southern California and elsewhere.
The financing is structured as a leveraged lease whereby the investors have committed to purchase the projects at the start of commercial operations and lease them back to Terra-Gen. Terra-Gen, will continue to manage and operate the wind projects under long-term agreements.
When completed, AWEC is expected to increase wind industry jobs in California by 20 percent, including more than 3,000 domestic manufacturing, construction, operation and maintenance jobs.
The Alta projects will also contribute more than $1.2 billion to the local economy in Kern County, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 52 million metric tons, the equivalent of taking 446,000 cars off the road.