Exelon Generation Co. LLC (Chicago, Ill.), a wholly owned subsidiary of electric utility Exelon Corp., and Deere & Co. (Moline, Ill.) have signed a definitive agreement under which Exelon will buy the Johnston, Iowa-based John Deere Renewables LLC wind energy business. Deere & Co.’s chairman and CEO Samuel Allen reports that the sale reflects Deere’s decision to concentrate on its core equipment businesses around the world. Subject to regulatory approvals, Deere anticipates the transaction to close this year.
The agreement, announced Aug. 31, gives Exelon Generation ownership rights to 36 completed John Deere Renewables wind projects in eight states, with an operational capacity of 735 megawatts (MW) — enough to power 160,000 to 220,000 households — plus numerous projects already in development when the agreement was signed. Notable among the completed projects is a wind farm (see photo) built in Greensburg, Kan., after the town was leveled by a tornado in May 2007. The townspeople vowed to rebuild as a “green” community, and John Deere Renewables provided the turbines.
The acquisition is currently valued at ~$860 million (USD), but the agreement has a provision that will provide an additional amount, up to $40 million, upon commencement of construction on still-pending development projects.
The acquisition is part of Exelon’s business and environmental strategy known as Exelon 2020, which aims to eliminate the equivalent of Exelon’s 2001 carbon footprint. Exelon claims to be the least carbon-intensive of the large U.S. electric utilities, and this transaction marks its entry into wind farm ownership and operation. The company has a combined capacity of nearly 19,000 MW of zero-emission wind, solar, hydro, landfill gas and nuclear power and is the largest wholesale marketer of wind energy east of the Mississippi River, with 352 MW of wind power capacity from five wind farm installations in Illinois, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Exelon Power also owns and operates a 10-MW solar plant in Chicago, the largest urban solar plant in the country.