Invenergy is preparing to raise construction financing for the 2 GW Wind Catcher wind project in Oklahoma.

The Chicago-based sponsor has received bids from lenders that are looking to fund the project, a project finance banker tells PFR, although a spokesperson for Invenergy in Chicago denied that the sponsor had solicited bids.

"Everyone and their mothers want it", says the banker, adding that the debt financing for the project and associated 350-mile transmission line is slated at $2 billion. The company spokesperson confirmed that Invenergy intends to raise construction financing but disputed the planned size of the deal. The sponsor is "moving very quickly to try to finance the project", notes the banker.

The combined wind generation and transmission project, collectively known as Wind Catcher Energy Connection, has a total cost of $4.5 billion and is slated to be completed in mid-2020.

The project, which Invenergy says will be the largest wind facility in the U.S. and second largest globally, is under construction on an approximately 300,000 acre site in Cimarron and Texas counties, Okla.

Rather than signing a power purchase agreement, the sponsor has instead agreed to sell the project to two utilities upon completion. 

Public Service Co. of Oklahoma and Southwestern Electric Power Co., both subsidiaries of American Electric Power, are seeking approval from regulators in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma for plans to purchase the facility, according to a statement issued by Invenergy on July 26. Invenergy will operate the project for the first five years.

GE Renewable Energy has supplied 800 2.5 MW turbines for the project, which entered construction last year, according to the statement.

Invenergy closed a turbine loan at the end of last year to safe harbor a large number of wind turbines under the production tax credit ( PFR, 1/25). It could not immediately be established whether the Wind Catcher project will utilize turbines procured with funds from the loan.

The independent power producer has worked with a long list of lenders in the last 12 months for project financing, including Morgan Stanley, BNP ParibasGE Energy Financial Services, MUFG, NordLB  and Rabobank.

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