D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI), a North American renewable energy producer, and utility Entergy New Orleans broke ground on two projects in Louisiana: the Iris Solar project in Washington Parish and St. James Solar project in St. James Parish.
Together, the projects produce a combined 70 MW of power. The Iris Solar site comprises 492 acres and the St. James site spans approximately 218 acres. Both projects are expected to reach commercial operation in mid-2021 and are expected to power more than 13,000 homes each year, according to the metrics provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Entergy New Orleans has entered into 20-year power purchase agreements with these facilities to serve its customers.
“Our team is pleased to work with Entergy New Orleans and all of our project partners to bring cost-effective renewable energy to Louisiana residents for years to come,” said Hy Martin, chief development officer of DESRI. “We’re proud of the team and partners that came together to start construction on this large set of solar projects that will bring jobs, tax revenue, and broader economic activity to local communities throughout the state.”
“Our generating portfolio is among the cleanest in the nation and these solar projects are part of our ongoing commitment to delivering clean, reliable, and safe energy,” said David Ellis, president and CEO of Entergy New Orleans. “These two new solar resources in combination with our portfolio will substantially increase the composition of energy supplied to our customers from renewable resources.”
The Iris and St. James projects are expected to create up to 150 jobs and 100 jobs respectively during the construction phase. They also will further diversify Entergy New Orleans’ generation portfolio, which already sources over 50% of its energy from zero-carbon emitting resources and has achieved an emissions rate that is 50% below the national average.
Financing for the construction and operation of the projects was provided by a syndicate of lenders, including Societe Generale as coordinating lead arranger and CIBC and Truist Bank (formerly known as SunTrust) as joint lead arrangers.
These solar projects were initiated and initially developed by Acadian Renewable Energy, a joint venture among affiliates of SunChase Power and MAP Renewable Energy. MAP Renewable Energy is a minority owner of the projects.
“We are pleased to see the projects and DESRI reach this exciting milestone,” said Heather Otten, co-founder and principal of SunChase Power. “This is a milestone which would not have been possible without the tremendous support of the landowners and the local communities.”
News item from D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments