Business news from the Finally Fast team
EverPower Wind Holdings, Inc., a subsidiary of Terra Firma, a leading private equity firm, and OwnEnergy, the leader in Community Wind, announced today that they have closed a transaction where EverPower will acquire and construct Patton Wind Farm, LLC. This is a project that OwnEnergy has been developing from inception with its local landowner partner.
The project will be 30 MW and will be fully operational by the end of 2012. An interconnection agreement with PJM has been secured and power will be sold on the merchant market. The Patton project is located in Elder, West Carroll, and East Carroll Townships across approximately 2,700 acres of agriculture land. According to EverPower, the project will provide approximately 100 jobs during construction, and up to 10 full-time jobs required to operate and maintain the project over the next thirty years.
As a Community Wind project, with local ownership of the farm, it enjoys unprecedented local support and will provide incremental economic development for the region. Many of the workers will be drawn from the local labor pool and non-local workers will require lodging, food and other necessities that will be also purchased locally, which will benefit local businesses. In addition to construction jobs, locally purchased goods and services will be needed. These construction materials include gravel, concrete, wood, fencing, steel rebar, cabling and fuel.
The development companies worked together to obtain funding in the amount of $3.2m from the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) under the Renewable Energy program. The award will improve the project’s viability in a challenging market environment and help enable the Patton Wind Farm to provide clean, renewable energy to more than 9,000 households and move Pennsylvania closer it its renewable energy targets.
The Community Wind project was started by Saint Francis University’s Renewable Energy Center. The university installed a meteorological tower in Patton and Ebensburg and found that the area was suitable for a wind farm. The university requested proposals from Community Wind developers and in what was a highly competitive process OwnEnergy was ultimately chosen to develop the project. OwnEnergy then partnered with local entrepreneur Marty Yahner to secure land and begin development of the wind farm.
“We’re the Sixth generation of Yahners to farm and live in the Patton community,” said Marty Yahner. When I learned that a wind farm would be developed here, I was excited by the prospect, but wanted to make sure it would work for me and my neighbors. By taking this Community Wind development approach, OwnEnergy enabled us to get comfortable with the many aspects of the project, while getting involved in a more meaningful way and sharing in the profits.”
Jacob Susman, Founder and CEO of OwnEnergy, said, “This is an exciting opportunity for OwnEnergy, The Yahner Family and the local Cambria county community. EverPower will get this project built next year, which means the community will see the benefits of the wind farm immediately and for many years to come.”
The Patton Wind Project will be EverPower’s fourth Pennsylvania project and third in Cambria County. The 62.5 MW Highland Wind Farm, located in Adams Township became operational in 2009. The 75 MW Highland North Wind Farm is located in townships of Adams and Summerhill and will become operational by the end of the year. In 2012, EverPower hopes to be constructing the Twin Ridges Wind Farm, a 140 MW wind farm located in Somerset County. Combined, the three wind farms are expected to have an annual economic impact of over $4 million on the region’s economy.
“I am very excited to announce the acquisition of the Patton Wind Project,” said Jim Spencer, president and CEO of EverPower Wind Holdings. “This strategic acquisition solidifies our presence in Pennsylvania. It also helps us achieve a milestone of having over 300 MW of operating assets in Pennsylvania by the end of 2012 and to become the prominent wind energy provider in the Commonwealth.”