GE Energy Financial Services announced that it has formed a team concentrating on the water market and that it has made its first investment: $18 million in a state-of-the-art wastewater reclamation plant near Atlanta.
The new water team offers structured equity and customized debt finance for existing assets and projects under development in the commercial, industrial and municipal infrastructure water, reuse and wastewater treatment markets worldwide.
"We've entered the water investing market because it's a major growth opportunity for us, takes advantage of our strengths in project finance and our leveraged balance sheet, and benefits from GE's expertise in water technology," said Alex Urquhart, president and CEO of GE Energy Financial Services. "It is also in the spirit of GE's ecomagination initiative, our pledge to help our customers solve environmental problems, in this case by increasing water supplies."
The team's first investment, for a 90 percent limited partnership role, is in the Cauley Creek Water Reclamation Facility, owned by privately held Cauley Creek Water Reclamation LLC. The four-year-old facility, 30 miles northeast of Atlanta near rapidly growing communities that put increasing pressure on wastewater plants, was designed to look like a barn to blend in with its pastoral surroundings. Its highly treated water is used for irrigating residential developments, churches, golf courses and other businesses, reducing demand on the drinking water system as well as withdrawals from the Chattahoochee River.
With a capacity of five million gallons per day and a long-term wastewater treatment contract with Fulton County in a public/private partnership, Cauley Creek is the largest satellite water reclamation plant in North America using technology by ZENON, a company GE acquired last month.