Saturday, July 30, 2005

Deere & Co. entering wind power biz

July 28, 2005

Deere entering wind power biz

By Sandra Jones
Deere & Co., the world’s largest maker of farm equipment, has formed a separate unit to get into the business of turning wind power into energy.
The Moline-based company has spent $8 million so far this year in wind energy projects in Minnesota and Texas. It plans to invest a total of $60 million by the end of this year, a spokesman says.

Deere’s wind energy group, a unit of John Deere Credit, will provide project development, debt financing and other services to help farmers harvest the wind. Unlike the larger wind energy farms in the western U.S, Deere plans to work with smaller farmers to aggregate and sell the power.
“We’re taking a different model,” says a Deere spoksman. “How can the smaller producer benefit? This is good for the economy of farmers because it gives them a steady stream of income.”

The amount of electricity generated by wind power is forecast to increase to 100,000 megawatts by 2020 from 7,000 megawatts in 2004, the company says, citing industry experts.

The growing demand for electricity has prompted deep-pocketed investors such as J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. to get into wind energy financing as well. The bank has invested an estimated $400 million in seven wind farms and is expected to bank roll another handful this year. (Crain’s 3-21-05) Related story from Crain's Chicago Business: WIND power: From hot air to real deal? Deere is looking into projects in Canada and Europe as well, the spokesman says. It has no plans to manufacture wind turbines.