Exclusive: PE-Backed Developer Set to Launch Construction of First Wind Farm

A California-based developer of utility-scale wind farms and its private equity partner are targeting to launch construction on their first joint wind farm next year.

Champlin-GEI Wind Holdings, formerly known as Champlin Windpower, and its private equity backer Good Energies, could launch construction on their first U.S.-based wind farm late next year, an industry source tells G.E.R.

Yesterday, Good Energies announced a $50 million investment in Santa Barbara, Calif.,-based developer Champlin Windpower. All of the investment will be used to support project development.

Champlin-GEI is considering all funding options including  selling equity stakes on each project to institutional investors like infrastructure funds as well as contracting long-term nonrecourse bank debt.

Champlin-GEI  says it seeks to develop its  4,000-megawatt project pipeline into wind farms able to  generate up to 500 megawatts of electricity.

A Good Energies spokesman declined to provide details on the fund’s equity stake in Champlin-GEI Wind Holdings.

The U.S. wind power market  is stagnating, with installations of new wind capacity expected to drop by 39 percent this year,  a downturn which has created a real buyer’s market.

Photo: Evan McKern, Flickr

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