Two Japanese companies have invested in a natural gas-fired power plant being developed by a subsidiary of the investment firm Ares Management LP in southeast Pennsylvania.
An affiliate of Japan's largest natural gas utility, Tokyo Gas Co. Ltd., said Tuesday it has acquired a 33.33% stake in the 488 MW Birdsboro generation facility in Berks County. Tokyo Gas' announcement came just weeks after global trading conglomerate Sojitz Corp. said it had also closed on a 33.33% ownership stake in the facility.
Ares EIF Management LLC owns the remaining stake in the plant. The companies did not disclose the terms of the transactions.
The combined-cycle facility, which is currently under construction and slated for commercial operation in 2019, was announced last year for the former site of a steel foundry. It would sell electricity into PJM Interconnection. Dozens of similar facilities are being developed throughout the Appalachian Basin and the PJM footprint to utilize Marcellus and Utica shale gas.
The investment was Tokyo Gas' first in a new-build U.S. power project, but it follows another last year when it took a 25% stake in the Empire power plant in Rensselaer, NY, from funds managed by Energy Capital Partners. That facility entered service in 2010. Sojitz's stake in Birdsboro is its first in the North American power market, although its portfolio includes similar investments around the world.
Ares said in February that it completed an equity investment for construction of the Birdsboro facility. CIT Bank, GE Energy Financial Services and Investec arranged debt financing. Terms of the transactions were not disclosed. Kiewit was selected as the project's engineering and construction contractor. The facility is expected to employ 20 people once it's operational.