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BlackRock acquires half of 200MW Texas wind farm

The US asset manager is set to buy two more Texas-based wind projects owned by the French utility later this year.


A fund managed by BlackRock 's Infrastructure Investment Group has purchased a 50 percent stake in the 200-megawatt (MW) Deaf Smith County, Texas-based Hereford Wind Project from EDF Renewable Energy for an undisclosed amount.

Both parties have also signed agreements that will see the US asset manager acquire stakes in the 200MW Longhorn and 196MW Spinning Spur projects, also located in Texas, once they become operational later this year.

The Hereford Project is linked into the recently-completed Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ), which aims to bring clean energy from the “strong renewable regions” in West Texas and the Panhandle to the more populous metropolitan areas of the state, according to a statement and the Texas CREZ website. The CREZ was commissioned by the Public Utilities Commission of Texas (PUC, PUCT) in 2008 with its assignment of $4.93 billion dollars for the addition of 18,456MW of wind power capacity through seven transmission and distribution utilities.

With its 104 wind turbines, the Hereford Project is expected to provide enough electricity to power 55,000 homes with clean energy that will circumvent 80,000 vehicles worth of greenhouse gas emissions, the statement said.

“We're excited about the North American renewable infrastructure market and look forward to growing our relationship with EDF Renewable Energy,” said David Giordano, head of the North American Renewable Infrastructure team at BlackRock Infrastructure. “This project is a great example of the growing set of investment opportunities in US infrastructure and represents our second investment in Texas.”

EDF will oversee ongoing operations and maintenance services for the Hereford facility, including 24/7 remote monitoring from its North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) compliant Operations Control Center, under a 20-year contract.

The company said this transaction follows its usual strategy to develop, build and sell stakes in renewables assets. The company has sold 1,000MW of equivalent net capacity over the past three years, according to the statement.

“This transaction is a testament to our strong partnership with BlackRock Infrastructure and illustrates our philosophy of building long-term relationships with leading industry counterparties,” said Tristan Grimbert, CEO of EDF Renewable Energy, North America.

The Hereford Project represents the 16th transaction completed by BlackRock Infrastructure in the renewables space, and is part of a portfolio comprising 615MW of wind and 178MW of solar projects across the US, Canada, Ireland, the UK and France.

Concurrent with the Hereford Project stake purchase, BlackRock Renewable Income UK also announced its acquisition of the 10MW Denzell Downs UK wind farm from developer Renewable Energy Generation for £24.4 million (€33 million; $37.7 million). Other recent acquisitions include the purchase of a 46.2MW Swedish wind farm from developer Arise, as reported by Infrastructure Investor sister publication Low Carbon Energy Investor .

BlackRock's power investment platforms manages more than $1.5 billion of renewable assets, according to the statement.