A San Diego firm’s proposed sale of its renewable energy assets will not affect plans for a wind energy project in West Michigan, company officials say.
On Feb. 12, Sempra Renewables announced plans to sell its assets to a subsidiary of Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power Co. Inc. for $1.1 billion. Sempra’s portfolio includes 724 megawatts (MW) of wind energy and battery storage across the U.S.
The deal is expected to close in mid-April.
Sempra — a subsidiary of Sempra Energy — owns the 100 MW Apple Blossom wind project in Huron County and is planning to build the Kenowa Ridge project spanning Casnovia Township in Muskegon County and Tyrone Township in Kent County.
Lisa Briggs, government and community affairs manager with Sempra Renewables, said the sale will not affect plans for the 27-turbine, 100 MW Kenowa Ridge project. Township officials are still considering whether to grant the project a special land use permit. Environmental permits and eventually a power purchase agreement are needed before construction starts, Briggs said. Developers hope to bring the project online in 2020.
In a Feb. 18 letter to the Casnovia Township board, AEP Renewables President Greg Hall said all lease agreements signed thus far “will remain in full force and effect” after the sale, as will any permit conditions.
“I want to let you know that AEP supports the proposed project and is committed to working with you, the Township, Sempra Renewables, and other stakeholders post-closing to advance the project,” Hall wrote.
AEP is a major investor-owned utility based in Ohio that also owns the largest electric transmission system in the U.S. The company includes utilities in Texas, Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Louisiana.
As MiBiz reported in September, the Kenowa Ridge project would be the first major wind development in West Michigan since Consumers Energy built the Lake Winds project in Mason County in 2012.
Despite reports of some vocal opposition from residents and challenges generally with building new wind projects in Michigan, AEP says it’s committed to the project.
“Like Sempra, AEP is committed to strong stakeholder engagement and collaboration, and we work closely with local community groups including municipalities, business improvement districts, chambers of commerce, and local development corporations,” Hall said.