E.ON secures financing for Illinois wind farm

E.ON Climate & Renewables (EC&R) North America announced today it has secured $150 million of institutional equity financing from Bank of America Merrill Lynch in exchange for a partial interest in its Pioneer Trail Wind Farm.

"We welcome Bank of America Merrill Lynch as an investor in our Pioneer Trail Wind Farm," said Steve Trenholm, CEO, EC&R North America. "This transaction demonstrates EC&R’s commitment to boosting local economies and plays a major role in promoting clean, affordable, homegrown energy."

The wind power project, located in Ford and Iroquois counties, Ill., is located 4 miles west of Paxton and consists of 94 GE 1.6 megawatt wind turbines providing more than 150 megawatts (MW) of power—enough to supply clean power to more than 45,000 households in the central Illinois region using North American made wind turbines, blades and towers.

"EC&R closely analyzes the specific aspects of each project to find a customized transaction tailored for the best fit," said Dr. Verena Volpert, Senior Vice President Finance, E.ON AG. "We look forward to a mutually beneficial long-term relationship with BofA Merrill."

This project is expected to generate more than $29 million in local taxes, pay $8 million in local salaries, and earn landowners more than $50 million. The Pioneer Trail Wind Farm is the 15th operational wind farm in North America for EC&R, giving the company more than 2,200 MW online.

"Our investment in the Pioneer Trail Wind Farm is another step in Bank of America’s 10-year, $20 billion environmental business commitment," said Todd Karas, president of Banc of America Public Capital Corp, which includes BofA Merrill’s Renewable Energy Finance group. "E.ON is a significant BofA Merrill institutional client, and we are pleased to have expanded our relationship through this renewable energy project that also supports the local Illinois economy."

E.ON Climate & Renewables (EC&R) is responsible for the E.ON group’s renewable energy and environmental protection activities around the world. Tapping renewable energy sources offers enormous alternatives, both from a business perspective and for the environment. E.ON Climate & Renewables will be investing euro 7 billion in renewable energy and environmental protection projects over the next five years to expand the share of renewable energy in E.ON’s portfolio for the long term. E.ON has thus taken a leading role in developing renewable energy sources worldwide.