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BP, John Deere, Goldman Sachs, Allianz Among Renewable Energy Winners

The third annual Euromoney and Ernst and Young Global Renewable Energy Awards were announced earlier this week at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum (REFF) in London. Winners included some household names not usually associated with renewable energy, such as Goldman Sachs and John Deere. Also honored were the likes of BP, whose Alternative Energy arm has helped define the field, and Allianz Group, the global insurer.

"Climate change is the single most important issue facing business and government today," said Jonathan Johns, Global Head of Renewables at Ernst and Young. "The renewable industry is determined to play its part in financing a sustainable future for ourselves and our children."

Mr. Johns noted that BP and John Deere, winner and runner-up respectively in the most enterprising new market entrant of the year category, have both aggressively entered the wind market. This August, BP Alternative Energy entered a strategic alliance with Clipper Windpower to jointly develop five US wind projects. BP has also committed to purchase at least 300 megawatts of Clipper turbines for use in other projects.

BP Alternative Energy also announced plans to double its support for wind as well as solar, hydrogen, and combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power to create a low-power carbon business worth around $6 billion in revenue per year within the next ten years.

John Deere Wind Energy is dedicated to development and investment in community-based wind energy projects, such as the 50-megawatt Bluegrass Ridge wind farm in Missouri. The project, named in tribute to the farming community's historic role in bluegrass seed harvesting, plans to install 24 Suzlon turbines to produce enough power for up to 30,000 homes. Wind energy represents a win-win situation for local communities, particularly farmers who lease land for turbine placement.

"My family has been farming this ground for generations and now we have a new crop that doesn't interfere with the rest of the farm operations," said Michael Waltemath, a farmer in the King City region where the wind farm is located. "Acre for acre, wind will be the most profitable crop we harvest."

Unsurprisingly for a nascent market, winners had intertwining relationships. Suzlon Energy, the producer of the Bluegrass Ridge turbines, won the IPO (initial public offering) of the year category. Its IPO, which raised nearly $308 million in new equity and was oversubscribed by over 46 times, catapulted the company into the top five wind turbine producers globally. Runner-up in the IPO category Suntech Power, one of the top ten photovoltaic cell producers globally, raised $359 million, with shares rising 40 percent on its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Honorable mention went to Renewable Energy Corporation, which raised $1.2 billion in new equity on the Oslo Stock Exchange and was 15 times oversubscribed.

Suzlon also factored into the private equity deal of the year award, as runner-up Allianz Capital Partners (along with Apax Partners) consummated the sale of Belgium-based turbine gearbox producer Hansen Transmissions to Suzlon. Allianz was also honored for its first wind project investment, acquiring the rights to Francofonte wind farm from project developer Aerosol.

Goldman Sachs was runner-up in the senior debt deal of the year category based on two significant renewable energy deals this year.

"In April, they acted as joint bookrunners on the syndication of a $263 million project financing for wind developer Horizon Wind Energy," according to the award presenters. "Also, they arranged $217 million in debt for Northeast Biofuels, including an innovative multi-year crush spread hedge and an equity investment by Permolex following backing from Citigroup Venture Capital."

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