New York PSC okays First Wind sale of itself to SunEdison/TerraForm Power

The New York State Public Service Commission on Jan. 13 granted an approval related to a sale of First Wind Holdings LLC to SunEdison Inc.

In a petition filed on Nov. 25, 2014, First Wind Holdings, First Wind Operating Co. LLC, First Wind Northeast Co. LLC, Northeast Wind Partners II LLC, CSSW Cohocton Holdings LLC, New York Wind LLC, Canandaigua Power Partners LLC (CPP), Canandaigua Power Partners II LLC (CPP II) and Northeast Wind Holdings LLC on the selling side, plus SunEdison Inc. and TerraForm Power LLC on the buying side of the deal, requested issuance of a Declaratory Ruling that the indirect acquisition of the ownership interests in the Cohocton and Dutch Hill facilities in New York need not be reviewed further under Public Service Law (PSL) §70, or in the alternative, for an approval of the transactions under PSL §70.

Through a three-stage transaction, the current indirect owners of CPP and CPP II will sell all of their ownership interests to TerraForm, in which SunEdison holds a 94.7% ownership interest.

First Wind indirectly, through Northeast Wind Partners, holds 51% of the membership interests in CPP and CPP II, which own and operate, respectively, the Cohocton (87.5 MW) and Dutch Hill (37.5 MW) wind projects in the Town of Cohocton, New York. First Wind also indirectly owns Niagara Wind Power LLC (Steel Winds), and Erie Wind LLC (Steel Winds II), neither of which are an electric corporation under the PSL and thus no determination is required with respect to these facilities. Steel Winds is the owner of a 20-MW wind project in Lackawanna, New York, which is a qualifying facility (QF). Steel Winds II owns and operates a 15-MW wind project in Lackawanna, New York, which is also a QF.

In addition to the New York wind projects discussed above, First Wind subsidiaries own and operate approximately 232.4 MW of generating capacity in the ISO New England balancing area.

Under this deal, First Wind would first buy out Emera Inc.’s minority stakes in these facilities, then First Wind would sell itself to SunEdison/TerraForm Power. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission signed off on the deal on Jan. 12.

Said the Jan. 13 New York PSC ruling: “The proposed transaction does not pose the potential for the exercise of horizontal market power. Both SunEdison and TerraForm are new entrants into New York wholesale generation markets and are acquiring only the interests in generation already held by First Wind. Consequently, market concentration in those markets will not increase as a result of the transaction. Additionally, post-transaction, SunEdison and TerraForm will indirectly control a de minimis portion of the generating capacity in the [New York Control Area]. Moreover, the proposed transactions do not present any market power issues in adjoining markets.” 

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.