Ralls Corp., which is owned by two Chinese executives and tied up in a legal battle with the U.S. government, has bought the development rights to a 20 MW wind energy project in Texas.
The company acquired the Pleasant Hill wind farm rights from Crosby County Wind Farm LLC and will oversee the installation. The announcement was made by Tri Global Energy LLC, the initial developer of the project.
According to Tri Global, the $37 million Pleasant Hill project will span over 2,000 acres and is the first phase of the Crosby County Wind Farm, a community-based project that is planned to potentially reach 300 MW.
Ralls Corp. is owned by Dawei Duan and Jialiang Wu, executives at Chinese manufacturer Sany Group. The company's main focus is to invest in and operate U.S. wind farms using Sany wind turbines, and Ralls will utilize the machines for Pleasant Hill. Project construction is scheduled to begin as early as this month, and the 20 MW wind farm is expected to come online in March 2014.
Meanwhile, Ralls Corp. has a pending lawsuit against the U.S. government. In September 2012, the company filed a complaint against the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) after the committee ordered Ralls to cease its efforts at four wind project sites located near a U.S. naval facility in Oregon. President Barack Obama, acting on recommendations from the CFIUS, then blocked Ralls' acquisition and ownership of the projects. Ralls fought back by naming Obama in the lawsuit, charging the decision was unjust.
The U.S. government has filed motions to dismiss the suit, and the court held a second hearing in July. According to a Ralls spokesperson, the court has not yet made a judgment, but the company hopes one will come soon.
As for the Pleasant Hill project, Ralls expects no issues.
"The acquisition supports our commitment to developing wind energy in U.S market according to the rules of the game here. This is consistent to our primary objective," the spokesperson tells NAW. "We have filed voluntarily the acquisition to CFIUS and gotten their approval before closing."
The spokesperson notes Pleasant Hill represents Ralls' second endeavor in Crosby County, Texas. The Ralls Wind Farm, which was constructed in 2011, was the company's first project. It comprises five Sany wind turbines and is not part of the Crosby County Wind Farm.