- National Grid Ventures, National Grid's competitive business unit, completed its acquisition of Geronimo Energy, a solar and wind developer based in Minnesota for $100 million, the unit announced Monday.
- Over 2.2 GW of wind and solar capacity have been developed or are under construction by Geronimo, which has a multi-gigawatt pipeline across the nation. The purchase "underscores National Grid's commitment to decarbonization," National Grid Ventures President Badar Kahn said in a statement.
- National Grid Ventures also acquired a majority stake for $125 million in Geronimo Renewable Infrastructure Partners, which it will now operate as a joint venture with the Washington State Investment Board. The joint venture has 378 MW of solar and wind projects under development and will continue under the name Emerald Energy Venture, according to Geronimo CEO Blake Nixon.
As National Grid's primary developer of renewable resources, Geronimo will build large-scale renewable projects and grow beyond its historically Midwest-based, largely wind-focused, generation portfolio, according to Nixon.
"We do see opportunities in markets that are a little bit farther away from our historic core," he told Utility Dive. "The strength of an organization of [National Grid's] size, and with their expertise and reputation, will enable us to do bigger and better things."
Geronimo is now active in New York State, in the PJM Interconnection, the SERC Reliability Corporation and the Western Electricity Coordinating Council. The developer was expanding geographically prior to the acquisition, Nixon said.
While Geronimo was primarily developing wind, Nixon expects new development to lean more toward solar. Besides the fact that wind tax credits will be fully expired ahead of solar, solar also has lower penetration levels throughout the country, Nixon said.
"The bigger long-term issue in wind is [the] lack of access to available transmission in a timely and cost effective way. So that's something that we're seeing as limiting the amount of new wind that can be built in the historic wind centers," he said, adding that wind continues to be dominant in the company's portfolio for the time being.
Geronimo began in 2004 as a development company that sold **renewable energy?** projects to large strategic owner-operators, such as Sempra Energy, Berkshire Hathaway and Xcel Energy.
The U.S.-based developer's expertise with community-driven and farmer-friendly projects aligns with National Grid's core values, the company said in its announcement. Geronimo Renewable Infrastructure Partners was created in 2017, marking a turning point for the developer.
"We realized that to build long-term value, really we should create an opportunity for long term ownership and operation within our own organization," Nixon said. "We started investing in the projects that we developed plus other projects that we were able to acquire in the market."
"The opportunity with National Grid ... made a lot of sense to us because, as you know, the business is quite a capital intensive business," Nixon said. Being National Grid Ventures' platform for renewables growth presented "a new opportunity" as "their firm hadn't gone into the development and ownership of large-scale renewables like this in the past."
National Grid's regulated businesses have renewables in their energy mix, while its unregulated subsidiary adds technical expertise in transmission and operations, "as well as the strength of their balance sheet" to Geronimo's business, according to Nixon.