NRG Seeks Buyer for Offshore Wind Power Unit, Halts Development

NRG Energy Inc., the largest independent U.S. electricity generator, wants to sell its Bluewater Wind unit after failing to find investors for its first offshore wind power project in Delaware.

NRG bought Bluewater in November 2009 from Babcock & Brown Ltd. and Arcadia Windpower Holdings Ltd. for an undisclosed sum. As incentives and government support for the industry has waned, NRG halted the unit’s work indefinitely, said David Gaier, a spokesman for the Princeton, New Jersey-based company.

“We’re suspending all offshore wind development activities,” Gaier said in a telephone interview. “We are looking for a buyer,” he said.

The end of the U.S. Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program in September in part led to the decision, as well as the possible expiration in 2012 of the 2.2 cent per kilowatt production tax credit for wind energy, Gaier said.

“We just couldn’t in good conscience continue to invest more money and more time when we didn’t really have assurance that we could move the Delaware project forward within a reasonable time frame,” Gaier said.

Delmarva Power & Light Co. agreed in 2008 to buy 200 megawatts of output from Bluewater’s 450-megawatt project. It may have cost as much as $2 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The contract will be terminated at the end of the year, though Bluewater will continue to seek a commercial lease for the Delaware site from the Interior Department and expects to receive it in early 2012, Gaier said. If a buyer is found, the lease may be transferred, he said.

The Delaware project was the only one for which Bluewater had a power purchase agreement, though it was also developing other sites in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and New England, according to its website.

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