As Projects Come Online, Geronimo Becomes Owner-Operator
Geronimo Investment Management, an affiliate of Geronimo Energy, announced in early December the commencement of operations for the first of several community solar garden projects within its Nordic Solar Portfolio. The projects, located in the Minnesota towns of Eagle Lake and Courtland, represent 10 megawatts (MW) of the Nordic Solar Portfolio’s total estimated 56 MW of clean, renewable, energy. Developed by Geronimo Energy, the projects within the Nordic Solar Portfolio will be owned and operated by a subsidiary of Geronimo Investment Management.
Covering just under 75 acres, the two projects generate approximately 19,000 megawatt hours (MWh) annually – enough to power over 1,500 homes for one year, or the equivalent of removing approximately 14,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere. Combined, the projects boast over 46,000 solar panels.
All 26 projects within the Nordic Solar Portfolio participate in the Xcel Energy Solar*Rewards Community Program and are anticipated to reach commercial operation in 2017 and 2018. The Nordic Solar Portfolio projects contribute to the local Minnesota economy through land payments to local residents, as well as tax revenue for local host communities. Subscriptions for the energy produced by the projects from local Minnesota businesses, government entities and non-profits offer significant electric cost savings, as well.
As Geronimo spreads its wings, its historic development business model is extending to include renewable energy project construction, operation and ownership, making it a formidable competitor in today’s renewable energy industry. Successful as a developer, with over 1,800 MW of projects currently in operation or under construction – and ranked #3 in the nation for wind energy development by Bloomberg in 2013 – the expansion into the full scope of project life-cycle management propels Geronimo into the next level of the clean energy market.
Geronimo Expands Its Portfolio
As a Minnesota-based company, Geronimo Energy has strong roots in the American Midwest. The bulk of its 1,800 MW currently in operation or under construction is located in these Midwestern states and much pride goes into Geronimo giving back to its home community. In recent months, however, Geronimo has expanded its portfolio to reach as far west as Colorado and as far east as New York, resulting in a nearly 7 GW development pipeline, split nearly equally between wind and solar energy projects.
This exciting expansion has led to increased customer base and market agility. Project sizes range from 1 MW to 600 MW and include commercial operation dates extending out to 2023, offering flexibility and customization for power purchasers. The increased number of projects also offers local rural communities the opportunity to take advantage of the economic benefits renewable energy projects offer, such as tax revenue, landowner payments, jobs and charitable giving.
Geronimo Projects Create Local Jobs and
Support Local Companies
In a press release dated October 24, 2017, Xcel Energy announced that it would be utilizing local construction companies to build its upcoming Minnesota, Iowa and North Dakota wind farms, including the Geronimo Energy-developed Blazing Star I and II Wind Farms. In its press release, Xcel Energy stated that “Golden Valley, Minn.-based Mortenson Construction will construct the Blazing Star 1 and Blazing Star 2 wind farms in southwest Minnesota, and Fargo, North Dakota-based Wanzek Construction will build the Foxtail Wind Farm in North Dakota and the Freeborn Wind Energy project located in primarily in Iowa with some turbines in southern Minnesota.”
Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, stated in the press release, “Hiring local companies for our wind projects delivers the benefits of clean energy and creates economic development opportunities for our communities. Additionally, these projects will save our customers billions of dollars in fuel and other costs in the coming decades.”
The release also stated that “more than 700 Upper Midwest construction jobs are expected to be created over the next three years, in addition to hundreds more through suppliers and other support.”
Geronimo is excited to see its development projects continue to support their local host communities. As a company with agricultural roots and a drive to help revitalize the rural American economy, the utilization of local construction companies is an extension of Geronimo’s project development goals and impacts.
Renewables a Windfall in Republican States
The New York Times recently published an article that posited that renewables aren’t just for America’s blue-leaning states. In fact, a whopping 69% of the country’s wind power is located in states who voted red in the 2016 election.
Although renewables are stereotypically seen as a democratic investment, the truth is that renewables just make economic sense – and that fact attracts supporters from both sides of the aisle.
Take for example the six states that acquire the largest percentage of their power from wind turbines — Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Texas — all 2016 red states.
Legislators, business owners, utilities and rate-payers are starting to recognize that clean energy offers low power prices for long terms, it creates jobs throughout the supply chain, and it helps stabilize American farmers’ income in the form of lease or purchase payments. In other words, it’s a good investment – regardless of which candidate you back.
Employee Spotlight: Denise Hugo
Denise Hugo joined Geronimo in September as the company’s Director of Origination. Denise has 12 years of experience in renewables and started her career in solar energy in Spain, where the sun shines 360 days a year. Denise loves working in renewables because she feels she is actively contributing to something greater (and cleaner!). She believes that renewable energy is a vibrant industry and also finds it to be a passion-project of the people it employs. Her goal at Geronimo is to do everything possible to accelerate the adoption of renewables through attracting and securing viable energy buyers for the company’s renewable projects.
Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Denise currently lives in Northeast Minneapolis with her son and husband amidst craft breweries, espresso-serving coffee houses, and artist workshops. In her free time, she loves exploring neighborhood hot spots, biking, traveling, and spending quality time with friends and family. Denise holds a BA in Political Science and International Studies from Northwestern University (Chicago, IL) and an Executive MBA from the EOI Business School (Seville, Spain).