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GE arm expanding stake in wind farms  

GE Energy Financial Services announced Thursday it is investing $270 million in wind farms in California, Illinois, New Mexico and Pennsylvania.

The company, a unit of Fairfield-based General Electric, is investing along with a subsidiary of Charlotte, N.C.-based Wachovia Corp. in six wind farms owned by affiliates of global investment and advisory firm Babcock & Brown.

“This transaction continues the expansion of the geographic footprint and technology mix of our wind holdings,” said Kevin Walsh, GE Energy Financial Service’s managing director and leader of renewable energy.

All of the wind farms have either been completed or will be completed by the end of April, except the Pennsylvania operation, expected to be finished by December.

The shares of parent GE fell 33 cents Thursday to close at $36.14 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The announcement is the latest in a series of deals to expand GE’s foothold in wind power production. On Wednesday, GE Energy Financial Services announced it would sell 165-megawatt wind farms in Germany for 5.2 million shares of Theolia, a Paris-based company that generates electricity from wind power.

GE Energy Financial Services also purchased an additional 1.2 million shares of Theolia stock for about $26 million and has the opportunity to increase its ownership to up to 22 percent of Theolia.

In September, GE Energy Financial Services announced it would finance the construction and operation of Tawhiri Power wind farm in Hawaii.

The Associated press


15 February 2007

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