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GE unit makes one of its largest wind portfolio investment commitments

AZDEL : 24 February, 2006  (Company News)
GE Energy Financial Services has committed to invest in a 410-megawatt wind farm portfolio, among its single largest wind investments. Among the wind farms in which it is investing is the one shown here, the 52-megawatt Mendota Hills project in Lee County, Illinois. GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of General Electric, announced today that it has committed to invest in a 410-megawatt wind farm portfolio, among its single largest wind investments.
GE Energy Financial Services has committed to invest approximately $270 million for 70 percent of the Class A equity, with a subsidiary of Wachovia Corp, providing the balance, in six wind farms in California, Illinois, New Mexico and Pennsylvania, until now wholly owned by affiliates of global investment and advisory firm Babcock & Brown. Affiliates of Babcock & Brown will be the manager and will remain as Class B equity co-investors in the portfolio. Additional financial details were not disclosed.

The wind portfolio consists of:

Aragonne Mesa (90 megawatts) in Guadalupe County, New Mexico. Built with Mitsubishi 1000A turbines, Arizona Public Services is the project’s off-taker.
Allegheny Ridge I and II, (80 and 70 megawatts respectively), in Pennsylvania’s Cambria and Blair counties. FirstEnergy Solutions, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., has contracted to purchase the output of the two wind farms, which use Gamesa G87 turbines.
GSG (80 megawatts), in Illinois’ Lee and LaSalle counties. Using Gamesa G87 turbines, the output will be sold at market prices.
Mendota Hills (52 megawatts), in Lee County, Illinois. The wind farm uses Gamesa G52 turbines and will sell output at market prices.
Buena Vista (38 megawatts), in the Altamont Pass area of Northern California. The output is contracted to PG&E Corporation and uses Mitsubishi 1000A turbines.

“This transaction continues the expansion of the geographic footprint and technology mix of our wind holdings,” said Kevin Walsh, Managing Director and leader of renewable energy at GE Energy Financial Services. “In addition, the portfolio helps the states of Arizona, California, Illinois and Pennsylvania meet their renewable energy targets, and reinforces GE’s commitment to ecomagination.” Ecomagination is GE’s initiative to help its customers meet their environmental challenges while expanding its own portfolio of cleaner energy products.

The six wind farms combined will annually produce electrical energy estimated to be sufficient to power 100,000 homes, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than nearly 700,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, compared with equivalent fossil fuel generation.

'This mix of projects is an exciting addition to our rapidly expanding US portfolio. We are excited to see the rapid growth of wind power in the US and are committed to making sure this growth continues. We value our relationship with GE Energy Financial Services and Wachovia and look forward to working with them on future wind deals,' said Hunter Armistead, head of Babcock & Brown’s North American wind energy group.

With this transaction, GE Energy Financial Services has invested or committed to invest equity in 25 wind farms, bringing the total capacity of its wind equity holdings globally to more than 1,300 megawatts.
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