Financial troubles won't affect wind farm

Bluewater Wind’s offshore wind project is going full-speed ahead, despite news in the past weeks of owner Babcock & Brown restructuring of its corporate debt.

The restructuring agreement with Babcock & Brown’s banking syndicate includes a revised business plan that will facilitate the repayment of those facilities, according to Matthew Dallas of Babcock & Brown.

“The plan allows for Babcock & Brown’s management to implement a controlled program to sell its businesses and assets over a three-year timeframe in order to maximize the value of those assets and pay down its debt,” explained Dallas.

“Throughout this process, businesses and assets will continue to be managed by existing teams of employees with the focus on preserving and maximizing the value of the business platforms.”

Jim Lanard, who heads up strategic planning and policy at Bluewater Wind, said the orderly sell off of assets, by which different components of the company will be sold to interested investors, will take a maximum of three years but really does not affect Bluewater Wind or its timeline at all.

“We are continuing to move forward in Delaware and in New Jersey,” said Lanard. “We have made every milestone and will continue to do so according to our plans, in the same time frame expected.”

That time frame includes installing meteor towers to measure wind speed in both the area designated as the “Delaware Offshore Wind Park,” off Rehoboth Beach, and a location in New Jersey waters by the end of 2009. Once information is gathered from those towers, Bluewater Wind will have a better idea of what the area’s wind resources are.

In addition to that process, they are continuing to get the necessary permits for the larger project, which could take approximately two years, and plan on installing the project’s foundations and turbines in approximately 2012 and 2013, respectively, with power being generated as soon as first turbines are installed. Those dates depend upon when final Minerals Management Services rules are adopted.

The financial news from Babcock & Brown does not affect any contractual agreements between Bluewater and Delmarva Power, and Babcock & Brown has said they are committed to their agreement.

Matt Likovich of Delmarva Power said this week, “The latest financial news does not affect our contract with Bluewater Wind. To date, Bluewater Wind has met the necessary contractual obligations with our company.” After much negotiation, the Power Purchase Agreement between the two companies was finalized in the summer of 2007.

“Babcock & Brown and Bluewater Wind continue to be fully committed to the Delaware project and to meeting the milestones of the Power Purchase Agreement with Delmarva Power,” said Dallas. “In addition, Bluewater Wind continues its development efforts to build offshore wind parks in other states up and down the East Coast, including Maryland, New Jersey, New York and New England.”

Lanard said he is confident that the country is turning over a new leaf as it pertains to renewable energy and companies such as Bluewater Wind.

“The federal stimulus package has a great number of provisions for renewable energy that will generate interests of developers who wish to build wind parks,” he said. “We believe we’ll see a new beginning in the renewable energy industry and a new commitment from our government. It’s very significant.”

For more information on Bluewater Wind or the Delaware off-shore wind park project, visit online.