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1/24/08 How Were The Wind Rights to Magnolia Township Sold And What Does A WInd Developer Do?


BPRC contacted EcoEnergy to ask what it was they sold when they sold wind development rights in our community to Acciona of Spain. We are grateful for this response, and appreciate their willingness to correspond with us, in spite of our differing views about this project. We were asked to print their response in its entirety and we are very glad to do so.

(Click here to visit EcoEnergy's Web Site)

   From EcoEnergy:
        “The question has come up regarding what EcoEnergy sold to Acciona and how EcoEnergy acquired this asset.  In the case of the EcoEnergy arrangement with wind power leader Acciona, here's how it works.  EcoEnergy does the initial project development, which includes locating good spots for turbines (based on wind maps and proprietary research related to wind patterns) and if local landowners are interested in participating, EcoEnergy then takes the project through the permitting process.  At the end of the process, Acciona becomes the majority owner in the project and EcoEnergy retains an option for ownership and involvement in the ongoing operation to ensure a local, domestic presence.  Both companies work together in the engineering and construction of the wind facility.  In other words, EcoEnergy sold Acciona several wind project limited liability corporations.  These corporations had assets, including proprietary wind data and analysis, geospatial analysis, project management, and staff time that was invested in meeting with local community members and groups.  Thus, Acciona bought EcoEnergy’s development rights for the project LLC.  This does not prevent another wind energy developer from working with the community, nor does it prevent community members from deciding to participate in a different project.  It simply means that if EcoEnergy develops the project, Acciona will be majority owner.

   It may make it clearer if we compare this arrangement with other types of long-term lease or ownership situations.  In a new large building, for example, a private or public entity purchases the land for the building (roughly equivalent to the landowners in a wind facility project).  In most cases, then, a developer is hired to find tenants for the proposed building (part of EcoEnergy's role, roughly equivalent to taking the project through the permitting process).  A construction firm does the actual building (roughly equivalent to roles played by EcoEnergy and Acciona in this case, working together).  At that point, the operation of the building is often turned over to a firm that manages it for its lifetime, including handling all its repairs and maintenance, and to whom the tenants of the building (assuming it's not a condo-type situation) pay their rent.  The original owners still own the land on which the building sits, but they are not responsible for the day-to-day upkeep of the building.  They receive a share of the profits from the project, but the firm managing the building for its lifetime may often be referred to as the owner and for all intents and purposes related to the running of the building, it is.  It makes its money by managing the building and making sure it is well-maintained.  In the case of a wind facility owned and operated by EcoEnergy and Acciona, these two companies are roughly equivalent to the firm that operates the building -- they "own" the equipment and the operation of the turbines, but the land is still owned by the original landowners, who receive annual payments for the use of that land, just as the owners of the large building -- while not involved in its day-to-day activities -- still receive payments based on its success.”

THANK YOU ECOENERGY FOR THAT RESPONSE! Please know it is appreciated. 


Need a job?

The BPRC Research Nerd has learned that Acciona of Spain has a branch in Chicago and they're looking for someone who can develop wind energy projects like the one developed and sold in our area by EcoEnergy. 

(Read the ad at its original source by clicking here)

Acciona Energy North America Corporation
Title: Project Developer
Location: Chicago, IL
Sector: Alternative Energy
Occupation: Business Development
Education:  Bachelors/Physical Science or Engineering
Benefits 401K    
Other Features :Travel75%
Description: Acciona is a global pioneer in contributing to sustainable worldwide development through its main lines of business: development and management of infrastructure and real estate projects, provision of transport, urban and environmental services, and development and operation of renewable energies.

Acciona seeks seasoned professionals to assist in the development of utility-scale wind power projects. We have openings in San Diego, Chicago,and Toronto. This position reports to the regional head of development. This senior project management position will be responsible for all aspects of project delivery for multiple projects in specific regions throughout the United States, ensuring that their projects are completed on time and on budget. The Project Developer’s initial charter will be to focus on managing existing projects. As the U.S. and Canadian business grows, he/she will be responsible for identifying and securing new development sites, evaluating project acquisition and investment opportunities and mentoring junior staff members.
# Manage process to move projects from green field development to commercial, preconstruction stage
# Ensure that timelines and budgets for Company’s existing projects are effectively managed
# Coordinate feasibility studies and project development activities with cross functional resources, peers, and outside consultants to ensure project stays on track
# Negotiate land rights acquisition with landowners and address land use issues
# Work with Permitting Manager to define, apply for and manage complex federal, state, and local environmental, construction, and related permits and support community outreach efforts towards a variety of stakeholders
# Work with Staff Scientist to coordinate wind resource assessment activities
# Work with Power Market and Interconnection Manager to manage interconnection studies, load flow analyses and assist in PPA negotiations
# Identify and communicate to Vice President any project risks and develop mitigation strategies
# Identify and introduce new potential joint venture partners, project acquisition opportunities and green field sites
# Identify and develop relationships with stakeholders; effectively communicate with a range of personalities, including land owners, partners, government officials, technical experts, utilities, and consultants
# Manage project budget, schedule and financial modeling inputs; communicate any variance to V.P.
# Prepare and present detailed analysis; communicate status reports to V.P.
Skills Required:
# Bachelor’s degree in Physical Science or Engineering
# Previous experience in energy development required, preferably in wind energy project development, with an understanding of deregulated electric markets
# At least 5+ years in a project management position with proven track record of building, leading and managing a multi-disciplinary team, preferably in the renewable energy or power generation industry
# Excellent written and oral communications skills; the ability to develop clear and concise development plans and presentations covering project status, timeline, risk assessment, and budget needs and performance
# Ability to operate at a detailed level, to organize and multi-task, with a dedication to seeing projects through to completion
# Ability to read and interpret topographic and other land use maps, preferably with some experience with Graphic Information Systems
# Understanding of local community dynamics, with the ability to negotiate effectively with landowners, permitting authorities, utilities, and other stakeholders
# Understanding of cost accounting, budgeting, and contract implementation
# Works well in a team environment and must be able to collaborate
# Business and utility industry experience preferred
# Willingness to travel regionally (generally 20%, but at times up to 50%)

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