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  1. Project
27 March 2020

Rio Bravo Wind Farm, Texas

Rio Bravo is a new 237.6MW onshore wind farm being constructed in Texas, US.
The 237.6MW Rio Bravo wind farm was commissioned in 2019. Credit: Longroad Energy Holdings LLC.
Sammons Renewable Energy acquired the Rio Bravo wind farm from Longroad Energy Holdings in December 2018. Credit: Longroad Energy Holdings, LLC.
A 345kV Cabezon substation is being constructed by Mortenson. Credit: MA Mortenson Company.

Rio Bravo is a 237.6MW onshore wind farm located in Texas, US. It can produce sufficient electricity to power more than 76,000 homes and offset CO₂ emissions from 126,000 cars a year.

Sammons Renewable Energy (SRE) acquired the Rio Bravo wind farm from Longroad Energy Holdings in December 2018. Franklin Park assisted SRE in identifying, channelling and closing the acquisition of the wind farm. KeyBanc Capital Markets acted as the financial advisor to Longroad Energy Holdings for the transaction.

Prior to the divestment, Longroad Energy Holdings concluded the development activities of the wind farm, including real estate, interconnections, environmental clearance, revenue agreement, turbine procurement and construction management.

The construction of the wind farm began in September 2018 and was completed in May 2019.

Rio Bravo windfarm details

Located in Starr County, Texas, US, the Rio Bravo wind farm features 66 wind turbines and provides clean energy to the Texas market.

“It can produce sufficient electricity to power more than 76,000 homes and offset CO₂ emissions from 126,000 cars a year.”

Vestas provided 3.6MW V136 turbines for the wind farm. The height of the tower hub is 105m and the rotor diameter is 136m. The area swept by the blades is 14,527m².

The turbines can produce a maximum output of 3.6MW based on the site conditions. The standard operating range for optimal output by the turbines is between -20°C and 45°C.

The high-voltage electricity generated by the wind farm is collected by a 345kV Cabezon substation located nearby. Electricity is fed to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid. ERCOT handles the majority of the electricity load in Texas and is the operator and power flow manager to 24 million customers in Texas.

Citigroup Energy was awarded a 15-year energy hedge contract, under which it will purchase approximately 80% of electricity generated by the wind farm.

QTS Realty Trust signed an agreement to purchase environmental attributes from the wind farm equivalent to 100% of the projected power consumption of the company’s data centres. The ten-year agreement was signed along with Citigroup Energy and Calpine Energy Solutions, in 2019.

Financing

The Rio Bravo wind farm reached financial closure in May 2018. The estimated cost of construction of the facility is $300m. Longroad Energy Holdings invested $100m in the project, while a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy provided tax equity.

A consortium of banks funded the construction of the wind farm. Led by KeyBank, the consortium includes National Australia Bank, Zions Bank, Landesbank Hessen-Thuringen, HSBC and CIBC.

Contractors involved

Longroad Energy placed a contract with Vestas for the delivery of wind turbines for the Rio Bravo wind project in June 2018. Vestas will provide turbine maintenance and services for the wind farm for a period of 20 years.

US-based construction and energy engineering services provider Mortenson was awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the Rio Bravo wind farm. The design engineering services wing of Mortenson designed the 345kV Cabezone substation.

The construction of the substation, collection system and transmission lines for the Rio Bravo wind farm commenced in September 2018.

Mortenson was responsible for the construction of access roads, foundations for the hub, meteorological towers, operations and maintenance (O&M) building and the turbine erection. A subsidiary of Longroad provided balance-of-plant (BOP), asset management and monitoring services for the project.

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