Green

OwnEnergy shoots for $100M to fund wind power

OwnEnergy just brought in an undisclosed amount in first-round funding, but the 1-year-old wind and alternative energy company is already looking ahead to the full $100 million it needs to raise to develop its first project, a 51-megawatt wind farm in north Texas — and to have it up and running by the end of 2009.

It’s unclear how close the Brooklyn-based company is to this goal, and I haven’t been able to reach OwnEnergy executives yet. But they must be pretty confident, considering that they’ve already started negotiations with a major turbine manufacturer, and broadcasted their intentions to develop between 10 and 80 other wind farms of similar scale.

Clearly, this growth will require significant deals with local landowners. The strategy so far has been to agree to split energy sales revenue should the plants succeed. Landowners have been hungry to cash in on the cleantech boom while the gettings good, and OwnEnergy is along for the ride, forging 12 partnerships with communities and landowning groups across seven states in the last year.

The company’s leaders say communities benefit more from owning small-scale alternative energy plants themselves rather than leasing land to development companies for bigger projects. Chief executive Jacob Susman told VentureWire that the future of the business will be energy generation on a single community, and even home level. Even so, its competitors, like National Wind LLC, are going forward with large-scale plans. The Minneapolis-based company recently announced that it will build a 400 megawatt plant in Colorado.

After OwnEnergy’s wind operations have taken root, the company plans to expand into biomass power production. It has tapped new investor EnerTech Capital Partners and first-round investors Countour Venture Partners and the New York City Investment Fund to keep the ball rolling.

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