Re-powering to Build a Sustainable Tomorrow

With more than 1.2 gigawatts of wind and solar generation alongside 537 megawatt hours of utility-scale batteries owned today, New York-based Terra-Gen is an established leader in the renewable energy sector. Terra-Gen develops, owns and operates renewable power generation facilities throughout the United States, with a significant presence in California. Its customers are power utility companies and other entities that provide electricity to end users, including community choice aggregators (CCAs): local organizations that harness the collective buying power of individual customers to secure lower-cost energy supply contracts for consumers with a focus on offering “greener” generation portfolios.

Jeff Cast is Terra-Gen’s managing director of Finance. “As a renewable energy company, sustainability is our business,” said Cast. “Terra-Gen’s development and operation of wind and solar projects lays a foundation that supports consumers’ desire for more clean energy options for all their electricity needs. We’re also one of the largest developers of Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) in California, which further advances sustainability by evening out the electric generation curve to allow for use of renewable energy even when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.”

Every part of the development and operation of Terra-Gen’s renewable energy projects is focused on sustainability, minimizing its footprint while providing a needed commodity.

Terra-Gen’s relationship with CoBank began in 2011 when the bank participated in financing for Terra-Gen’s Alta Wind Energy Center, the nation’s first gigawatt-scale wind energy facility. Most recently, the bank provided financing for construction of the CalWind project, a 247-megawatt wind power generation facility, located on sites near Mojave and Palm Springs, California. Completed in October 2021, the project will provide power to Shell Energy North America, CleanPower SF and a number of smaller CCAs throughout the state.

Built on the site of a wind power facility originally constructed in the 1980s, the CalWind project is an example of re-powering: replacing older, generally smaller, wind turbines with newer, larger and more efficient designs. Re-powering offers a number of environmental benefits including increased renewable energy production due to the higher capacity of new wind facilities, and reduced impact to the environment and lower installation costs through the use of existing infrastructure such as roads and substations.

“California has a limited number of available sites for the development of large-scale wind projects,” said Cast. “The CalWind project was a valuable and well-known wind resource, but it had reached the end of its useful lifespan. Re-powering the site simply made sense and it fits with Terra-Gen’s commitment to using the most efficient means for renewable energy generation.”

CoBank helped finance Terra-Gen’s CalWind project, a 247-megawatt facility located on sites near Mojave and Palm Springs, California.

Giving new life to an old facility is more than just practical; it’s a demonstration of the company’s underlying belief in the importance of protecting the environment while they “build a sustainable tomorrow.”

“Terra-Gen is committed to minimizing our footprint while providing a needed commodity in the most sustainable and environmentally friendly way possible,” continued Cast. “We go above and beyond to reduce environmental impacts, siting projects to reduce impacts to important ecosystems or threatened and endangered species, avoiding impacts to wetlands and of course minimizing the impacts to our neighbors.”

Whether it is helping our cooperative generation and transmission customers to add more renewable energy to their portfolios, or working with companies like Terra-Gen, whose primary focus is developing and owning renewable projects, CoBank appreciates the opportunity to act as a dependable partner throughout the life of the projects we finance—a philosophy that aligns well with Terra-Gen’s.

“At Terra-Gen, we believe in building long-term relationships with our financial partners and appreciate the support CoBank has provided to us,” said Cast. “With a significant pipeline of additional projects to bring online over the next few years, we look forward to continuing this important relationship.”

This story was originally published in the CoBank 2021 Corporate Social Responsibility Report.