GE to invest millions in local wind farms

ALTONA Huge corporate investment in wind energy will stimulate wind energy projects across the state, including one under development in the town of Altona. In a recent news release from GE Energy Financial Services, the corporation has announced it will invest a total of $100 million in the states three newest wind farms in Altona, Chateaugay and Wethersfield in Wyoming County, being constructed by wind energy developer Noble Environmental Power, based in Essex, Conn. GE, which has a goal of investing $6 billion in renewable energy by 2010, has now invested more than $4 billion, according to GE President and Chief Executive Officer Alex Urquhart. We have reached the $4 billion milestone just five months after hitting $3 billion, confirming that renewable energy is our fastest-growing business, said Urquhart. Such project-level investments coupled with our venture capital investing in clean tech, GEs technology and research reinforce GEs company-wide leadership in renewable energy. When the projects are completed during the fourth quarter of this year, GE will invest equity as the non-managing member of the three New York State farms and Noble Environmental Power will invest as the managing member. With this new investment, GE and Noble will have co-invested in more than 80 percent of New York States wind capacity. In addition to remaining a significant equity investor, Noble will construct, operate and manage the facilities. According to GE statistics, when the three new wind farms begin commercial operation, they will increase the wind producing capacity of New York State by 47 percent. The wind farms will utilize a combined 234, 1.5-megawatt GE wind turbines to generate a combined 330 megawatts of energy enough to power more than 110,000 average New York homes. In total, the farms will avoid 385,000 tons of greenhouse gases per year equivalent to taking 64,000 cars off the road. According to Noble, the total local economic benefit to the communities of the three New York State wind farms is estimated at $305.5 million. The Altona wind farm alone, which will contain 65 turbines, is expected to produce enough power for 32,500 homes and create $75 million in local economic benefits, according to statistics provided by Noble. Wind farms provide not only clean energy but more jobs, said Kevin Walsh, managing director and leader of renewable energy at GE. Local people have already been hired to construct the wind farms, build and plow the roads, and eventually maintain the projects. As we showed in a study we released last month, wind farms will create tax revenues for local and federal governments. In a world with rising fuels costs, this new form of energy and the millions of dollars in economic benefits it provides is truly Americas new cash crop. The GE Energy Financial Services study may be found on-line at www.geenergyfinancialservices.com

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