Milwaukee-based WEC Energy Group expects to pay $302 million to acquire a 90% ownership interest in the Jayhawk Wind Farm in southeastern Kansas.
Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy is currently developing the project in Bourbon and Crawford counties. It will have capacity to generate 190 megawatts of energy that will be sold to Facebook under a long-term contract.
Chicago-based Invenergy will acquire the remaining 10% of the project and will operate it going forward. The Jayhawk Wind Farm is expected to begin commercial operation by the end of the year.
“Our commitment to the Jayhawk project is the next step forward in our comprehensive plan to build a bright, sustainable future, serve strong vibrant customers, and continue to grow earnings from our portfolio of renewable energy assets,” said Gale Klappa, WEC Energy Group executive chairman.
Even before this deal, WEC Energy Group has spent more than $1.6 billion to acquire majority interests in six wind parks with more than 1,000 MW of capacity.
The utility uses production tax credits from the wind investments to reduce its cash tax expense. WEC Energy Group also expects the investments to generate a higher rate of return than its regulated business.
The wind farms the utility has invested in previously are in South Dakota, Nebraska and Illinois.