Irish renewable energy group Gaelectric announced today that it has raised $18m (around €13.5m) to fund North American wind energy developments.
The $18m funds will allow Gaelectric to book 960 megawatts (MW) of transmission capacity for its wind energy developments in Montana, US, which it says will supply power to northwestern American regions by 2014.
The $18m has been placed on deposit with transmission system operators, Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and NorthWestern Energy (NWE), to book transmission capacity on their networks with power expected to flow in the period 2014 to 2016, said Gaelectric North America.
“The funding we have announced today will enable Gaelectric to advance the development of key sites in Montana with power delivered via the Bonneville Power Administration network and NorthWestern Energy networks,” commented president of Gaelectric North America, Eamonn McGrath.
“We believe the United States’ pursuit of a clean renewable energy future is going to catch up with wind energy developers’ expectations,” he added.
The $18m funds have been raised from European private equity sources in the form of a hybrid debt/equity instrument.
McGrath lauded Gaelectric’s overall vision and achievement in acquiring these funds during a time of economic duress and believes he sees the investment as a building block in unlocking wind energy potential in mid-west America.
“The fact that we have raised this finance against the backdrop of a difficult fundraising environment is a strong vote of confidence in Gaelectric’s overall vision and strategy. Gaelectric is the first wind developer in Montana to book transmission capacity at a scale which will allow renewable power to be exported from some of Montana’s highest wind energy sites directly to markets in the Pacific Northwest. We see this investment as both an important endorsement of Gaelectric’s vision of developing wind projects and as an initiative which will start a process to unlock the tremendous wind resource of the mid-west.”
Gaelectric is active in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and North America, where it operates from regional development offices. The energy company recently announced approval for a €22m wind farm in Co Tyrone, which it expects to generate enough electricity to power 6,500 homes.