Wind+solar developer sells pipeline to National Grid for more than $100 million


A kid can dream right?

One of the highest risk, but also highest returns, in the solar power industry is connecting with land professionals, getting ink on the paper, and then moving the project through interconnection, and getting the power purchase agreement. And there is heart break often, especially when the interconnection analysis shows saturated circuits or heavy upgrade fees, but when the project moved from development to shovel ready – the heart begins to flutter.

National Grid, a UK-based electric company that has both utility subsidiaries and generation in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, has purchased Geronimo Energy for “at least $100 million”.

The company lists individual project locations on its project page (below map), and by clicking on them you can see individual project details.

For instance, the Wild Spring Solar Project located in Pennington County, South Dakota is a 70 MW project located in 500 acres, and is vastly larger than the entire installed capacity in the state to date. The group expects a capital investment of ~$113 million, $560,000 in local tax revenue annually, and the site to come online December 31, 2020. Additionally, the project will pay $14,000/year into an “Education Fund” (pdf) that will be used by the local school district for activities. This money will be above and beyond the tax revenue.

Geronimo Energy, a Minnesota-based developer, has built and sold over 2.2 GW of wind and solar projects that are either in operation or under construction across the United States. The company also states it has a “significant development pipeline” of future projects, and the deal with National Grid allows Geronimo Energy to earn future payments based upon the successful development of this pipeline of projects.

Geronimo Energy estimates  that it has been part of developing over 10% of all wind power in the Midwest.

In addition to purchasing the development firm outright, the two groups also announced that National Grid is working toward purchasing a 51% stake in 378 MW of wind and solar power projects already developed by the company. These projects have long-term power contracts in place, and will be owned in a joint venture between National Grid and the Washington State Investment Board. National Grid will operate the resources. This joint venture will also have right of first refusal for all projects developed by Geronimo Energy in the future.

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