Alta Wind Energy Center to be largest in US

Generating capacity is nearly double that of the current largest installation in the country


Energy & Utilities >

Citi and Google are financing the second phase of the Alta Wind Energy Center (AWEC), which is currently being developed in Tehachapi by Terra-Gen Power.

When completed, AWEC will be the nation's largest wind farm, with a generating capacity of 1,550 megawatts – nearly double that of the current largest installation in the US.

Citi and Google will invest a total of $157 million in the fourth and fifth phases of the project. Citi also underwrote the equity financing for phases two to five, which will produce a combined 570 megawatts.

The first five phases of the installation, with a generating capacity of 720 megawatts, are already providing energy to the grid. They have boosted installed wind capacity by 25% and will help California meet aggressive targets for renewable energy. A further 300 megawatts will be on-line by the end of the year.

AWEC is expected to increase wind industry jobs in California by 20%, by creating more than 3,000 domestic manufacturing, construction, operation and maintenance jobs. The project will also contribute more than $1.2 billion to the local economy in Kern County.

The installation will supply power to Southern California Edison, using a new transmission line developed as part of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project, designed to transport electricity from remote, clean energy sources to major population centers.

Financing is via a leveraged lease, whereby investors commit to purchase the project at the start of operations, then lease them back to Terra-Gen who will operate the wind farms under long-term agreements.

"We are delighted with the important investment role that Citi and Google are playing in the Alta Wind Energy Center," said Terra-Gen Power CEO Jim Pagano. "All of us at Terra-Gen are proud of the immense contribution that this project will make to America's clean energy economy."