Clean Energy Future has hired an investment bank as financial adviser to raise debt and equity for a greenfield combined-cycle gas-fired project in PJM Interconnection.

The adviser, Whitehall & Co., is expected to release a confidential information memorandum and financial model for the 940 MW Trumbull Energy Center to would-be equity investors this week.

The financing of the $925 million project was delayed by a legal dispute between its sponsor, CEF, and the Macquarie Group-led consortium that owns the neighboring 940 MW Lordstown CCGT. The two projects are located in the same industrial park in Trumbull County, Ohio (PFR, 12/24/18). CEF also developed Lordstown and retains a minority stake.

Brian Burchfield is leading the Whitehall team working on the Trumbull deal. The boutique investment bank also advised CEF on the debt and equity raise for Lordstown three years ago (PFR, 4/6/16).

Efforts are underway to secure a power price hedge for Trumbull, and the gas netback, which has been a popular choice of late, is a potential option, says a person familiar with the situation.

First things first

Financial close on Trumbull is pegged for this fall, after the PJM capacity auctions. Before then, CEF is looking to wrap the funding for another project in Ohio, its 955 MW Oregon Energy Center, also known as Oregon II, in Lucas County (PFR, 11/13/18).

BNP Paribas is advising on the debt raise and is expected to approach lenders once Cantor Fitzgerald finalizes the equity syndicate, which could be as soon as next week.

Siemens Financial Services has already committed a $200 million equity check and the sponsor and its advisers aim to rope in a final co-investor by month-end. Financial close is penciled in for shortly after July 4.

The size and tenor of the debt for Oregon II will depend on the final line-up of owners and hedging arrangement for the project, but a construction-plus-five-year mini-perm based on a revenue put is looking likely, says a deal watcher.

The development team has spent months debating whether to launch the financing for the $890 million project before or after this year’s PJM capacity auction, but is now aiming to go to the market ahead of it. The ATSI zone of PJM cleared at $171.33/MW-day last year.

CEF has hired Black & Veatch as engineering, procurement and construction contractor for Oregon II and Trumbull, both of which will be fitted with Siemens H-class model 1.6 turbines. The facilities are expected to be online in mid- to late 2022.

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