Ex-Babcock energy group inks first deal

Pattern Energy Group is funding the development of a 101.2 megawatt wind farm in California. The deal could be worth as much as $220m, of which at least $100m is debt financing from a club of six banks. A 15-year power purchase agreement is in place for the wind farm’s electricity.

Pattern Energy Group, a renewable energy development company that separated from Babcock & Brown in June, has funded a wind farm project in California, its first deal since it left the fallen Australian financier.

The Hatchet Ridge project in California’s Shasta County marks the first wind development in the state this year, Pattern said in a statement. It will generate 101.2 megawatts of energy per year, an amount large enough to serve nearly 44,000 homes annually. Pattern expects to finish construction and be in operation by the end of 2010.

Wind: powering
California

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), a trade association for the wind energy industry, estimates that it takes about $2.2 million to develop a single megawatt of electricity generation capacity from wind sources, suggesting total deal size of about $220 million.

Beth O’Brien, a spokesperson for Pattern, declined to discuss the specifics of the financing but she suggested the AWEA metric could serve as an appropriate measure for approximating the deal size. She added that at least $100 million of the project value will come from debt.

Six banks are providing debt financing for the project: Natixis, UBOC, LBBW, Calyon, SocGen and WestLB. RES America Construction will construct the project.

O’Brien said RES was originally going to develop the project on its own but Pattern Energy, while still with Babcock, proposed to join the project as a development partner and provide financing.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a West Coast power utility, will buy electricity from the power plant once it is operational. The term of the power purchase agreement is 15 years.

Pattern Energy was bought by energy and power specialist Riverstone Holdings in June 2009 from Babcock & Brown. The deal, the terms of which were not disclosed, gave Riverstone access to 80 professionals who formed Babcock & Brown’s North American Energy Group across offices in San Francisco, Houston, San Diego and New York.

The deal also gave Riverstone the rights to a development pipeline of 4,000 megawatts of wind power in 11 states and four countries and several transmission projects.