The first community owned wind farm in New York is looking for investors. Black Oak Wind Farm, LLC has opened a new equity investment round for New York residents and companies to join the existing investors in owning the wind farm. The project will consists of 7 turbines located on a ridge in Enfield, New York.
An AA credit rating institution is purchasing all the power output from the project for ten years. The project was awarded a ten-year contract with NYSERDA for its Renewable Energy Credits and qualifies for the Federal Investment Tax Credit. Black Oak has protected itself against the financial risk caused by wind variability through the use of an innovative risk management product offered by Nephila Capital, in partnership with REsurety.
Project Manager Marguerite Wells is leading the project. Her vision for community ownership stems from the fact that most wind farms don’t allow local residents to invest in the projects they live among. “I asked myself a long time ago…if wind farms are profitable then why shouldn’t they be owned by regular local people instead? I quickly learned that wind farm financing is extremely complex, and although community ownership is a common model in Europe, there are few such projects here in the U.S.”
One similar project is South Dakota Wind Partners, a 7-turbine wind farm owned by 614 South Dakotans. Val-Add Service Corporation, the financial consultants who developed that project, are members of the Black Oak team, as is Juhl Energy, based in Pipestone, MN. The PPA was negotiated by Altenex; GE will be providing the turbines (1.7-100’s) and the O&M services. Tetra Tech Construction, based in Gloversville, NY will build the project; COD is expected Fall 2015.
The current round is open only to accredited investors in the State of New York, with another round opening this fall for non-accredited investors.