Norway's Statoil makes U.S. wind energy bet

Company's venture capital fund teams up for wind energy leasing company.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  March 7, 2016 at 8:12 AM
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BROOKLYN, N.Y., March 7 (UPI) -- A capital fund set up by Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil said it made its first ever renewable energy investment with an eye on small-scale U.S. wind.

Statoil Energy Ventures, the company's $200 million venture capital fund, said it formed a partnership with United Wind to look for small-scale wind energy solutions in the United States.

"Today's investment in United Wind secures early entry in the company driving the growth of the distributed wind market in the United States," Gareth Burns, managing director of Statoil Energy Ventures, said in a statement.

United Wind offers leases to rural U.S. consumers interested in setting up wind installations on their properties. The offering is similar to those used in rooftop solar programs.

The U.S. government estimates the cost of wind power is moving closer to parity with conventional energy resources. Federal data show renewable energy accounted for more than 10 percent of total U.S. power generation, with wind and solar power accounting for the majority of the gains.

According to United Wind and Statoil, wind energy is the fastest growing new source of electricity in the United States.

"Rural property owners throughout the U.S. have a massive opportunity to save on electricity costs by using distributed wind energy technology," United Wind CEO Russell Tencer said.

The financing gives Statoil a seat at the board of directors are United Wind. United Wind unveiled a lease program in 2013 that offers interested parties fixed 20-year lease terms for rural wind energy installations.

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