Babcock & Brown sells Texas wind project

The 283 megawatt Gulf Wind Project in southern Texas went to Pattern Energy, the Babcock spinout owned by private equity firm Riverstone Holdings.

The firm said in a statement the Gulf Wind Project near Corpus Christi in southern Texas is big enough to supply the annual energy needs of approximately 80,000 homes. It has been operational for about a year and is located close to transmission lines for the electricity it will produce.

The electricity will be sold under a long-term power-purchase agreement with a “credit-worthy third party”, Pattern said.

Pattern did not disclose the purchase price for Gulf Wind but it said it secured debt financing from a group of six banks, including Mizuho Corporate Bank, Banco Espirito Santo, Bayerische Landesbank, Commerzbank, HSH Nordbank and ING Capital.

Pattern Energy, formerly the management team of Babcock & Brown’s North American Energy Group, was formed last year when Babcock & Brown, the now-defunct Australian investment bank, sold the group to energy private equity firm Riverstone Holdings.

Pattern Energy focused on development-stage wind assets while at Babcock and the Gulf Wind Project was one of the projects they had helped develop.

Another Babcock-affiliated entity, Babcock & Brown Wind Partners focused on operational-stage wind projects and would buy them up from Babcock's energy group as they exited the development stage. When Babcock & Brown Wind Power separated from Babcock last year and changed its name to Infigen Energy, it bought up most of Babcock's operational wind assets in the US, except Gulf Wind.

A third Babcock wind team – Bluewater Wind – focused on offshore wind development assets. Babcock had acquired the firm in September 2007. It sold Bluewater in November 2009 to New York Stock Exchange-listed NRG Energy.

Since it entered into administration in March 2009, Babcock & Brown has been selling off assets to pay its creditors. The Gulf Wind Project sale was a part of this process. It was sold after a nearly one-year long competitive bidding process conducted by Babcock.