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Deal Watch: Wind power comes to rural Oregon

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Articles - February 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
BY JON BELL

THE ENERGY COMPANY behind what’s being billed as the world’s largest wind farm is from New York. The 338 wind turbines for the facility are coming from a Connecticut behemoth that will have them assembled in Florida. And the power from all their spinning blades will flow straight into California.

Yet it’s north-central Oregon that will likely feel many of the effects of the $2 billion Shepherds Flat wind farm now that Caithness Energy has secured construction approval and placed a $1.4 billion wind turbine order with General Electric Company.

For starters, the 909-megawatt wind farm — effectively more wind energy than is currently produced in all of Oregon — will stretch out over 32,000 acres in Morrow and Gilliam counties. Private landowners involved are expected to see annual lease agreements of about $4,000 per turbine for the project’s first 20 years.

Caithness estimates that Shepherds Flat, whose three component projects have received preliminary certification for the state’s Business Energy Tax Credit, will create more than $16 million in annual economic benefit for Oregon. That includes $2 million annually for Morrow County and more than $5 million to Gilliam from Caithness under the state’s Strategic Investment Program.

The company reports that construction of Shepherds Flat will employ 400 workers; once it’s operational in 2012, it will employ about 35. While that may not seem substantial, it actually isn’t bad for a county like Gilliam, where the population stops short of 2,000.

Patricia Pilz, a California wind consultant working with Caithness, has said that the company plans to rely on local contractors and suppliers during construction. And already, several new aggregate sites that will provide rock for roads and turbine bases are in the works, including the 4GD Land Company’s quarry near Ione.

Such endeavors could also benefit from future wind projects in the area such as a potential 1,000-megawatt farm in Morrow County currently under research by a group called 2MorrowEnergy.

MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS
PRICE EXP. CLOSE BUYER / PARENT (HQ) SELLER / PARENT (HQ) ANNOUNCED
$46M Q1 PacificSource Health Plans (Eugene) Clear One Health Plans (Bend) 12/30
$20M Q1 Flir Systems (Portland) Directed Perception (CA) 12/28
$15M Q1 Rentrak (Portland) Nielsen EDI/Nielsen (NY) 12/15
$12.3M Q1 Fit Dragon International (Asia) Nautilus (Vancouver) 12/9
$3.6M Q1 Murphy Co. (Eugene) Panel Products (Rogue River) 12/10
CAPITAL RAISING AND CONTRACTS
PRICE (TYPE) COMPANY (HQ) / LEADERSHIP INVESTOR (HQ) ANNOUNCED
$1.4B (wind turbine purchase for Oregon wind farm) General Electric (NY)/Jeffrey Immelt Caithness Energy (NY) 12/11
$200M (revolving credit facility) PGE (Portland)/Jim Piro Bank of America (NC) et al 12/8
$168M (credit facility) Blount (Portland)/Joshua Collins GE Capital (CN) 12/8
$25M (Boardman biofuel plant grant) ZeaChem (CO)/Jim Imbler U.S. Dept of Energy 12/4
$10M (common stock offering) West Coast Bancorp/Robert Sznewajs Shareholders 12/21
$8.9M (electronic records funding) Central City Concern (Portland)/Ed Blackburn Federal government 12/7
$8M (infrastructure upgrade contract) Native American Technology Corporation (Coos Bay)/Wanda Williford Federal Aviation Administration 12/1
$6.2M (ship repair contract) Cascade General (Portland)/Frank Foti Federal government 12/10
$6M (architectural services contract) THA Architecture (Portland)/Thomas Hacker Portland Community College (Portland) 12/21
$5M (investment) Marquam Hill Capital (Beaverton)/NA Oregon Growth Account (Salem) 12/1
$3.9M (donation) PSU (Portland)/Wim Wiewel Fariborz Maseeh (CA) 12/7
$3.5M (venture cash) JanRain (Portland)/Brian Kissel DFJ Frontier CA, RPM Ventures (MI) and Anthem Venture Partners (CA) 12/7
$1.2M (pref. stock financing) Bioject Medical Tech. (Tualatin)/Ralph Makar Signet Healthcare (NY) and Ed Flynn (MY) 12/18
$1M (alumnus gift for exchange program) Oregon State University/Edward Ray Joe Lobbato (Thailand) 12/29
$963,000 (stimulus contract) Crestline Construction (The Dalles)/Ron Schmidt U.S. Dept of Agriculture 12/31
$650,000 (angel investment) Columbia PhytoTechnology(Dallesport, WA)/Mark Savarese Oregon Angel Fund (Portland) 12/15
$650,000 (angel investment) Second Porch (Portland)/Brent Hieggelke Oregon Angel Fund (Portland) 12/15
ND (10 wave energy buoys) Oregon Iron Works (Clackamas)/Robert Beal Ocean Power Technologies (NJ) 12/4
REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS
PRICE BUYER / PARENT (HQ) REAL ESTATE (LOCATION) / SELLER (HQ) ANNOUNCED
$65M Behringer Harvard (TX) Cyan apartments (Portland)/Gerding Edlen Development (Portland) 12/1
$55M (est) American Pacific International Capital (Portland) 19 floors of the KOIN Center (Portland)/FPS KOIN Center (CA) 12/29
$370,000 Gary/Delores Miller (Aloha) 7,200 sq. ft. warehouse (Forest Grove)/5J's Insulation (Forest Grove) 12/16
$207,500 Tan 205 2,300 sq. ft. retail (Vancouver)/205 Commerce (Vancouver) 12/22
ND Hampton Affiliates (Portland) lumber mill (Warrenton)/Weyerhaeuser (WA) 12/8
 

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