Wind Power Investments Grow in North America

by | Nov 23, 2009

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windpowerWind energy projects are starting to take-off in North America based on several drivers including federal government incentives, angel funding and financial partnerships.

Through its Texas subsidiary Horizon Wind Energy, the giant Portuguese company EDP Renewables plans to almost triple its U.S. projects to $4 billion worth of new wind energy projects through 2012, thanks to renewable energy incentives including the investment tax credit (ITC), which was extended until 2012, reports Reuters.

The ITC delivers a 30 percent production tax credit to homeowners and businesses to encourage the development of any form of renewable energy, reports Reuters. In addition, for businesses that had no profit to take a tax credit against, they are now able to take the tax credit as a cash grant within 60 days, according to the article.

The new legislation also encourages reinvestment of renewable energy profits, so manufacturing for the nacelles, blades and other parts must be done in the U.S. to qualify, according to Reuters.

Saint Louis University’s Billiken Angel Network is investing $300,000 in a wind energy project started by Affinity Wind LLC, a company formed in 2007 by an adjunct business professor, reports the St. Louis Business Journal. The Billiken fund supports entrepreneurial ventures from students, faculty, alumni and others associated with the university, according to the article.

Affinity plans to develop a 150-megawatt (MW) wind energy project in north central Illinois, which would be large enough to power about 50,000 homes, reports the St. Louis Business Journal. The total cost of the proposal is about $300 million, of which additional funding will come from co-development with larger companies and equity contributions from suppliers, according to the article.

Illinois is ranked among the top 10 states in the U.S. for wind project installations in 2009, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

In Canada, Enbridge Inc. and Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc. (RES Canada) an affiliate of RES Americas, are partnering to develop a 99-MW wind energy project near Chatham, Ontario. The total investment by both parties is approximately $285 million.

The Talbot Wind Energy Project is expected to be completed in December 2010 and will produce enough wind energy to power 33,000 average Canadian homes, according to the companies. It will use 43 Siemens 2.3-MW wind turbines and, under the terms of the agreement, will be constructed by RES Canada under a fixed price, turnkey, engineering, procurement and construction agreement.

The project will deliver energy to the Ontario Power Authority under a Renewable Energy Supply (RES) III 20-year power purchase agreement. It’s expected to avoid 106,600 tons of CO2 emissions each year.

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