Google invests $75m in Texas wind farm of Pattern Energy

Search engine company Google said Jan. 14 that in late December it finalized an agreement to invest $75m in the Panhandle 2 wind farm in Carson County, outside of Amarillo, Texas.

The 182-MW facility, developed by Pattern Energy Group LP, has the capacity to generate enough renewable energy to power 56,000 U.S. homes. Google said it expects the facility to be operational by the end of 2014.

Panhandle 2 is Google’s 15th renewable energy investment overall, and its second in Texas. About a year ago it announced an approximately $200m investment in the Spinning Spur wind farm. In addition to these two projects, Google is also buying Texas wind from the Happy Hereford wind farm as part of its goal of operating on 100% renewable energy.

The Jan. 14 Google announcement was from Nick Coons, Principal, Renewable Energy.

Pattern Energy Group (NASDAQ: PEGI) (TSX: PEG) said in December 2013 that it agreed to acquire two wind projects from its majority shareholder, Pattern Energy Group LP, for total cash consideration of $202.4m. One of those projects is Panhandle 2, a 182-MW project consisting of 79 Siemens 2.3-MW wind turbines. Construction began concurrently with the execution of Pattern Energy’s acquisition agreement and the execution of non-recourse project construction financing with affiliates of Morgan Stanley. Upon commissioning, approximately 80% of the expected output is contracted under a long-term energy price hedge with an affiliate of Morgan Stanley, with the balance paid at ERCOT’s spot market prices.

The Panhandle 2 project has strong, consistent wind with an expected net capacity factor that is slightly higher than 50%, the company noted. Pattern Energy, together with three institutional tax equity investors, will acquire Panhandle 2 upon completion of construction, which is scheduled to occur in the fourth quarter of 2014. Pattern Energy is expected to hold an approximate 80% ownership interest. Pattern Energy will be the operator for the project under a long-term agreement.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.