Akuo completes financing of 93MW wind farm


A consortium led by Akuo and composed of Harrison Street, Morgan Stanley, and GE Energy Financial Services (GE EFS) has reached financial closer for Bennington Wind, a 93.06 MW onshore wind development project.

The project is located approximately 100 miles southwest of Chicago in Bennington Township in Marshall County, Illinois.

Located in the eastern part of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) regional transmission operator territory, the project will benefit from proximity to major population centers, excellent wind power and limited grid congestion.

GE Renewable Energy supplies thirty-three 2.82 MW turbines. Akuo will begin construction later this month and the wind farm is expected to be operational in Q4 2021.

The project will generate enough electricity to power approximately 33,277 households and will offset the equivalent of 303,815 tons of carbon dioxide during each year of operation. This is equivalent to 9,114,441 tons of avoided carbon emissions over the 30-year life of the project.

The Bennington Wind project marks Harrison Street’s fourth investment in the U.S. wind farm and the first with Akuo.

Morgan Stanley is the sole provider of construction financing and the sole purchaser of power and renewable energy credits under the Long-Term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). This PPA will provide a significant portion of Morgan Stanley’s renewable energy required to meet the company’s commitment to 100 % carbon neutrality and 100 percent renewable electricity supply by 2022.

Renewable electricity generation by wind farm will account for more than 50 percent of Morgan Stanley’s electricity consumption and 30 percent of its global carbon footprint.

GE EFS is the provider of tax equity to the project. Bennington marks the third successful collaboration between GE EFS and Akuo on the success of the 150 MW Rocksprings wind farm in Texas and the 30 MW Sterling wind farm in New Mexico.

Bennington Wind will bring significant economic benefits to Marshall County and the State of Illinois. An estimated 378 jobs will be created across the state during construction with 148 of those living in Marshall County. Over $19 million of property taxes will be paid over the life of the wind farm, with $12.1 million going to local schools.

“With this project, Akuo continues to be a partner of choice for firms interested in the direct purchase of renewable energy to combat carbon emissions and climate change. Akuo is honored to be chosen by Morgan Stanley to play crucial part in meeting their sustainability goals. This is the 10th deal worldwide completed by Akuo with a corporate buyer.”

Eric Scotto, CEO Akuo.

“Bennington Wind will provide vital clean, safe, cost effective and efficient energy to Illinois. Akuo is highly experienced in developing and operating renewable energy and power generation projects and Harrison Street is pleased to partner with them to further Illinois’ position as a leader in renewable energy. This transaction demonstrates Harrison Street’s ability to successfully execute investments in mission critical infrastructure assets during an uncertain time, and we look forward to working with Akuo as we continue to identify and invest in attractive wind and solar infrastructure assets across Illinois and the U.S.”

Christopher Merrill, Harrison Street’s co-founder, chairman and CEO.

“Morgan Stanley is proud of this innovative project which required collaboration of multiple teams across our firm to bring this new renewable electricity online in a complex, industry first structure. By partnering with exceptional wind farm developers such as Akuo, we continue to execute on our commitment to reach 100% carbon neutrality and 100% renewable electricity by 2022.”

Tom Nides, vice chairman, Morgan Stanley.

“Bennington represents a great collaboration between a GE customer and industry leading financing partners, whereby GE’s combined financing and technology solutions helped to deliver an onshore wind farm that will contribute to Illinois’ renewable energy mix. GE EFS delivered certainty of execution during a very challenging year, while providing structuring solutions that worked for all partners.”

Gaurav Raniwala, GE EFS Global Renewable Energy Leader.
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