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New venture to acquire two Wyoming wind farms

A firm that manages teacher retirement accounts and an American Indian-owned company from Alaska is teaming to acquire two wind farms in Wyoming.

TIAA-CREF and Cook Inlet Region Inc. have joined Edison Mission Energy to form Capistrano Wind Partners LLC.

Fueled by a $238 million investment from New York City-based TIAA-CREF and Anchorage-based Cook Inlet Region Inc., Capistrano will acquire the 61-megawatt Mountain Wind I and the 80-megawatt Mountain Wind II projects near Evanston in southeast Wyoming, as well as the 150-turbine Cedro Hill project in Texas.

“This transaction offers potential long-term growth and profitability while developing sustainable, domestic energy resources that will decrease our nation’s reliance on imported energy. CIRI looks forward to working with our new partners to pursue current and future investment opportunities,” said Stig Colberg, Cook Inlet Region Inc. chief financial officer, in a media release.

Both Wyoming projects now belong to Edison Mission Group, of which Edison Mission Energy is a subsidiary.

“We are pleased to enter into a partnership with two experienced investors to help drive the growth of clean wind energy in this country,” said Pedro Pizarro, president of Edison Mission Group, in a release.

All of the power produced by the wind farms is sold to Rocky Mountain Power, through a long-term power purchase agreement with the utility. A spokesman for Rocky Mountain Power declined to comment on the deal.

TIAA-CREF and Cook Inlet will invest a total of $460 million in the venture, which plans to buy up to seven projects with a total generation capacity of 500 megawatts, including a 42-megawatt Crofton Bluffs project and the 80-megawatt Broken Bow project, both under construction in Nebraska.

“These investments match TIAA-CREF’s long-term investment focus on infrastructure and energy projects that meet a growing need for energy and that we expect to deliver durable returns,” said Lisa Ferraro, TIAA-CREF energy investments managing director, in a release.

Edison Mission Group currently owns and operates 31 wind projects in operation or under construction in 11 states, with a total electricity generating capacity of nearly 2,000 megawatts.