Macquarie, Siemens to build new energy centre

Macquarie will provide 73% of the equity through MIP III in Ohio's 940MW Lordstown Energy Centre.

Macquarie Infrastructure & Real Assets (MIRA), the fund arm of Australia’s Macquarie Group, has teamed up with Siemens Financial Services to build a new 940MW combined cycle gas turbine electric power generation facility in Lordstown, Ohio, 50 miles southeast of Cleveland.

MIRA will be investing in the project through Macquarie Infrastructure Partners III (MIP III), a 10-year closed-end fund that focuses on investments in infrastructure and related assets in the US and Canada, which the fund manager closed on $3 billion in September 2014. MIRA will provide 73 percent of the equity, while Siemens will be providing the remaining 27 percent, MIRA said in a statement on Wednesday, without disclosing the total cost of the project.

It did, however, state that a consortium of lenders – led by the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, Credit Agricole, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Investec – will provide the $445 million term debt needed to fund construction of the project.

Clean Energy Future, which is developing the Lordstown Energy Centre, will retain an interest in the project, MIRA said, but declined to comment on the exact percentage.

“LEC is expected to utilise the latest in high efficiency gas turbine power generation technology – technology that is both cost effective and more environmentally friendly than the aging coal-fired capacity that it will replace,” MIP III chief executive Chris Leslie said.

According to the statement, LEC will replace a portion of the more than 18GW of coal-fired generating capacity in the region that has been retired since 2012. Its generation capacity will be enough to power the equivalent of 800,000 homes and will be delivered into the Pennsylvania-Jersey-Maryland market, which serves more than 60 million customers.

Construction is scheduled to begin immediately, with all necessary approvals and permits having been secured, while the plant is expected to be online in the summer of 2018.

Siemens will provide the turbines and generators as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor.

LEC’s location between the Utica and Marcellus shale gas basins ensures the facility will have access to low-cost gas.

MIRA also invests in real estate, agriculture and other infrastructure sub-sectors in addition to energy via public and private funds, co-investments, partnerships and separately managed accounts. Its assets under management – invested in more than 120 portfolio companies, approximately 300 properties and 3.6 million hectares of farmland – exceed $100 billion.