Cohocton Wind Watch: Wind-farm lease buyouts coming to New York
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.


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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wind-farm lease buyouts coming to New York

CHATEAUGAY — Wind-farm-lease holders may soon be able to opt for lump-sum payments for their anticipated lease agreements instead of waiting for periodic checks.

Chuck Hinckley, the former chief operating officer of Noble Environmental Power, is now CEO of American Wind Capital Co. in Essex, Conn., which just announced that it has had an infusion of cash from investment bankers and a private energy-technology investor.

The cash will continue to be used in California, Texas and other states with wind-energy projects that have longer operational track records.

Hinckley said the company does not operate in New York yet and "will focus on non-Noble projects."

But within six to eight months, eligible lease holders at Maple Ridge Wind Farm in Lewis County may be able to get payments now in exchange for lease rights.

"It's the value of the dollar now compared to the value over time," Hinckley said. "Our interest is long-term ownership of royalty payments that we retain.

"The advantage to property owners is cash now," he said, rather than in smaller amounts over the life of the lease agreements.

Hinckley said he left Noble Environmental during the downturn in the global economy a year ago partly because he wanted to be more active in recovery than the company wanted to be.

He joined Thomas H. Lee Partners, then started the royalty-acquisition company American Wind in 2008.

He said the company isn't looking at Noble sites yet because there is not a long enough history of the operations at any of the operational wind-farm projects.

Noble owns the Altona Wind farm, which produces 97.5 megawatts of power, and Chateaugay Wind Park, which produces 106.5 megawatts.

The cash-for-lump-sum buyouts came from a division of Barclays Bank PLC and NGP Energy Technology Partners.

Hinckley declined to say how much money was put up, but Barclays typically issues a line of equity between $50 million and $100 million, according to a news release from American Wind.

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