Mitsui buys stake in NY power plant

GDF Suez Energy North America has sold a 20.6 percent stake in Astoria I to the Japanese trading company for an undisclosed amount.

Tokyo-based Mitsui & Co. has acquired a 20.6 percent-stake in Astoria I, a 575-megawatt (MW) gas-fired combined cycle power station in New York, from GDF Suez Energy North America, a subsidiary of the French energy group GDF Suez.

Mitsui did not disclose the amount it paid for the minority stake. The project, in which GDF Suez retains a 38 percent interest, is valued at about $1 billion.

Astoria I, which went into operation in 2006, has been supplying power to a subsidiary of regional utility company Consolidated Edison, through a power purchase agreement (PPA) which expires in May 2016. Once the PPA expires, the plant is expected to sell electricity in the New York market, Mitsui said in a statement.

This transaction is the first in the US between Mitsui and GDF Suez, which have established a global partnership covering power generation and liquid natural gas export businesses across 12 countries worldwide.

The two companies also collaborated on a 680MW renewable generation portfolio developed by GDF Suez in Canada last year.

“It signals the ambition of both companies to develop existing assets and expand their cooperation globally,” Mitsui said.

In addition to Mitsui and GDF Suez, the project’s other investors are: AE Investor, which holds 25 percent; SNC-Lavalin with 12.3 percent; and East River, with a stake of 4.1 percent.