GE Energy Financial Services today said it is investing $141 million into a wind farm owned by Spanish renewable energy developer and wind turbine maker Acciona. The 180 megawatt Tatanka Wind Farm, on the North Dakota-South Dakota border, uses 120 Acciona 1.5 megawatt turbines and went into commercial operation last month. GE’s investment in the $381 million farm keeps it on track to hit its goal of investing $6 billion into green power by 2010. GE recently passed the $4 billion mark with a $100 million investment in three wind farms in New York.
The move to invest in a competitor’s wind farm shows GE knows there’s lots of space in this market. It’s not like GE is hurting for wind turbine buyers — the company had $12 billion in backlog orders earlier this year. And foreign energy players like Acciona Energy, which is part of the Spanish corporate giant Acciona Group, are scrambling to get a slice of America’s wind energy pie. The Tatanka wind farm is Acciona’s first wholly built wind farm in North America; the Spanish firm opened a turbine production plant in Iowa earlier this year to fuel the expansion of its North American Energy business.
And America’s wind has huge potential. The American Wind Energy Association estimates that North Dakota has the greatest wind energy potential in the States. But don’t worry, Texas, where former oilman T. Boone Pickens is building what he says will be the biggest wind farm in the world, is a close second.