GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of GE (NYSE: GE), announced today it has made its first equity investment in Ireland’s wind power market by acquiring two wind farm construction projects that will be powered by the GE’s flagship 2.85MW wind turbines. With a combined capacity of 51 megawatts, the wind farms, acquired from Element Power and now under construction, will help Ireland meet its renewable energy generation targets, produce power for thousands of homes, and reduce electricity costs for Irish consumers. Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.
Element Power is managing construction of the projects and will provide operational management services following completion of the farms, which will use GE’s 2.85-megawatt turbines with 103m rotors. The 17-megawatt Acres wind farm is near Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal, 210 kilometres northwest of Dublin. Construction completion of Acres is scheduled in the first quarter of 2015. The 34-megawatt Barranafaddock wind farm is near Ballyduff, Co. Waterford, 230 kilometres southwest of Dublin. Construction of Barranafaddock is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2015. The wind farms are expected to make a significant contribution to local economies through the payment of rent to local landowners and rates to local county councils over expected minimum 25 year life of the project. The civils and electricals works have been awarded to Irish contractors, Moriarty Civil Engineering and Kirby Group respectively.
The Acres and Barranafaddock wind farms will help Ireland meet its target of generating 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, more than half the percentage required by the European Union. In addition, the wind farms are expected to generate enough electrical energy to power more than 33,300 homes in Ireland and avoid the emission of up to 75,000 tons of greenhouse gases.
“The Acres and Barranafaddock wind farms illustrate the complementary fit between Element Power’s development, construction and operations expertise and GE’s capital and wind turbine technology,” said Mike O’Neill, president and chief operating officer of Element Power.
Andrew Marsden, a managing director and European leader at GE Energy Financial Services, noted that the projects highlight GE’s interest in deploying capital in Ireland’s energy sector and working with strong partners to offer expertise gained as one of the world’s largest private investors in wind energy projects.
“The combination of Ireland’s strong wind resources with a stable regulatory regime and well-structured feed-in tariff for wind energy present attractive growth opportunities for us, our partners and the country,” said Marsden. “We value our partnership with Element Power and are exploring other opportunities to work with them and others in Ireland and across Europe as we seek to expand our portfolio of energy investments.”
GE Energy Financial Services is one of the world’s biggest investors in wind power, with a portfolio of wind projects spanning nine countries, with a capacity totaling more than 12 gigawatts in operation or under construction.