The Alta Wind Energy Center (AWEC) is located in the heart of one of the most proven wind resources in the United States—the Tehachapi-Mojave Wind Resource Area, in Kern County, California. To provide technical due diligence in support for the $1.2 billion financing of four wind energy projects, Terra-Gen Power, LLC turns to local experts from GL Garrad Hassan. GL Garrad Hassan will also provide inspection and monitoring services throughout project construction, and technical support to underpin the leveraged lease, to be provided by Citibank, N.A, when commercial operations commence.
The independent technical due diligence review conducted by GL Garrad Hassan includes an assessment of the energy production at the site, a review of the site suitability, and a technical assessment of the plant, the equipment, and all of the material procurement, construction, and operation contracts. In addition, the experts analyzed project costs and carried out a full financial model review. GL Garrad Hassan’s final independent engineering and wind resource assessment reports served as a foundation to inform the 10 financial institutions involved in the project financing. Stuart Murray, director of infrastructure and energy finance for Citigroup, says “We are very pleased with the quality of the technical due-diligence performed for us and the rest of the stakeholders on this project by the GL Garrad Hassan team. Their continued support will be instrumental in assuring construction quality and helping us to achieve a successful financial closing at commercial operation.”
The Alta Wind Energy Center is a 3,000 MW wind power development initiative. Construction commenced on the initial 150 MW Alta I project in March of this year and construction of the Alta II through V projects reviewed by GL Garrad Hassan (570 MW) started in July following financial closing. Commercial operation of the four phases is scheduled to occur in the first half of 2011. The term financing of Alta II-V is supported by a 144a bond issuance and structured as a leveraged lease whereby Citibank, N.A., will become the lessor to Terra-Gen at the start of commercial operations. Terra-Gen will manage and operate the wind projects under long-term agreements.
Phil Dutton, vice president of independent engineering at GL Garrad Hassan for the North American region, says “We are thrilled to be part of this groundbreaking project. Not only is its size significant both locally and nationally, it is also innovative in its use of the 144a bond issuance and leveraged lease type transaction, paving the way for similar financings for future renewable energy projects.”
GL Garrad Hassan is one of the world’s largest dedicated renewable energy consultancies and a recognized technical authority on the subject (see profile in September 2010 issue of Wind Systems). It offers independent technical and engineering services, products, and training courses to the onshore and offshore wind, wave, tidal, and solar sectors. Although the GL Garrad Hassan name is new, the company has a rich heritage. It is born of the integration of specialist companies that, united, form the renewable energy consulting division of the GL Group. GL Garrad Hassan is a consulting company; it has no equity stake in any device or project. This rule of operation is central to its philosophy, something which sets it apart from many of its competitors. For more information go to www.gl-garradhassan.com.