AEP Competitive Sub. To Purchase Wind Assets From Sempra
American Electric Power announced that its competitive renewable energy subsidiary has signed an agreement to acquire Sempra Renewables LLC and its 724 megawatts (MW) of operating wind generation and battery assets for approximately $1.056 billion, including $551 million in cash, assumption of $343 million in existing project debt and $162 million in tax equity obligation.
The final acquisition cost will be subject to closing and working capital adjustments.
Sempra Renewables, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, jointly owns all or part of seven wind farms and one battery installation in seven states. Five of the wind farms are jointly owned with BP Wind Energy. BP Wind Energy will retain its ownership share of those projects.
"Our long-term strategy is focused on diversifying our generation portfolio including expanding our ownership of renewable generation. We targeted $2.2 billion of capital investment in competitive, contracted renewables by 2023. Adding these high-quality renewable assets to our portfolio will achieve a significant portion of that goal this year. The long-term contracts and attractive returns associated with these existing assets will be immediately accretive to earnings and solidify our projected 5 to 7 percent earnings growth rate. The business also includes a pipeline of development projects that could provide additional value," said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer.
The seven operating wind farms have an average capacity factor of 37 percent. They are located in Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania. They all have long-term, power purchase agreements (PPAs) for 100 percent of the energy produced with investment-grade investor-owned utilities, municipal utilities and electric cooperatives. The project PPAs have an average remaining life of 16 years. AEP operating units AEP Ohio, Indiana Michigan Power and Southwestern Electric Power Company have PPAs with two of the wind farms.
AEP expects to finance the acquisition with a combination of debt, equity, and/or equity-linked securities. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019 and is subject to approvals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Hart-Scott-Rodino clearance.
AEP Renewables also recently signed a separate agreement to purchase a 75 percent interest (227 MW) in the Santa Rita East Wind Project currently under construction west of San Angelo, Texas. AEP Renewables will acquire its share of the project upon completion in mid-2019.
AEP's competitive renewable generation portfolio currently includes 351 MW of contracted renewable generation including wind and solar projects in Texas (261 MW wind), California (20 MW solar), Nevada (50 MW solar) and Utah (20 MW solar).
The portfolio will grow to 1,302 MW of renewable generation in 11 states after close of the Sempra transaction and completion of Santa Rita, making AEP the seventh largest utility owner of competitive wind generation in the United States.
For Sempra, "The agreement to sell our U.S. wind assets along with the previously announced sales of our U.S. solar and natural gas storage assets are expected to generate approximately $2.5 billion in cash proceeds to support our growth plan as we strive to become North America's premier energy infrastructure company," said Joseph A. Householder, president and chief operating officer of Sempra Energy. "The timing of these asset sales is important as we look to redeploy new capital into important growth at our U.S. utilities where we are improving the safety and reliability of electric and gas service."