E.ON has secured more than $200 million in tax equity financing to repower its Panther Creek I and Panther Creek II Wind Farms in West Texas.
GE Energy Financial Services (GE EFS) underwrote and committed a portion of the tax equity, which allows E.ON to significantly increase the lifespan of the combined 258 MW sites.
The previously announced repowering project increases the sites’ capacity factor through the replacement and installation of new drive trains and the upgrade of 172 GE 1.5 MW wind turbines with longer rotors. The project is expected to reach commercial operation this December.
The repowering created 239 construction jobs at the peak of the work on-site, requiring more than 325,000 person-hours to complete. Further, local counties are collectively projected to receive more than $30 million in property tax revenue from the two projects over the next 25 years.
“Repowering sites like Panther Creek I and II allows us to increase the amount of clean, renewable power that the facilities can produce while simultaneously providing additional investment in local communities through increased tax revenues,” says Silvia Ortin, chief operating officer for North America at E.ON. “This financing will help us significantly prolong the operating life of these projects and increase their capacity factor, allowing us to extract additional value from existing infrastructure and continue growing the American clean energy future.”
“Leveraging GE’s repowering technology and investment capabilities, we are proud to help E.ON bring its first U.S. repowering project to fruition and build on our track record of investing tax equity in GE wind repower projects,” adds Gaurav Raniwala, global renewable energy leader at GE EFS. “Located in a strong wind resource regime, the repowering project enables E.ON’s Panther Creek wind farms to achieve maximum performance with greater reliability, annual energy production uplifts and extended wind farm life.”
The Panther Creek I & II projects, part of E.ON’s Panther Creek cluster in Howard, Glasscock and Sterling counties, were originally completed in 2008.