Financing the Largest Clean Power Project in U.S. History


Creating Energy Superhighway to reach Three Million Americans Leveraging New Mexico’s Abundant Wind to Meet the Growing Energy Needs of the Southwest While Maintaining Grid Reliability

One of the major obstacles on the road to Net Zero is the sheer amount of investment required to help accelerate the global transition away from fossil fuels. One clear path to cleaner power is through advancing the capability to produce energy from renewable sources. Renewables enjoy widespread support, with more than 100 governments pledging to triple the supply of renewables worldwide by 2030 at the U.N.’s COP28. 

One opportunity to meet that target is through wind electricity generation, which has seen substantial growth in the past 30 years as technological advancements have brought down costs. Total annual U.S. electricity generation from wind grew from roughly 6 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2000 to about 380 billion kWh in 2021, with wind turbines representing more than 10 percent of total U.S. utility-scale electricity generation in 2022. Despite this momentum, achieving size and scale for these projects has largely been elusive.  

However, the new SunZia Wind and Transmission initiative is an example of how ambitious infrastructure design and creative, multifaceted deal structuring can secure levels of capital for renewable projects only previously seen in traditional energy generation deals.

In the U.S.’s fast growing Southwest region, New Mexico is a prime source of abundant, constant wind energy. However, to tap into this natural source of power and allow it to reach more populous areas in Arizona and beyond requires a substantial investment in transmission infrastructure.  

A superhighway for renewable power

Pattern Energy, a leader in renewable energy and transmission infrastructure, recently began construction on the SunZia Transmission, a 550-mile high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line running between central New Mexico and south-central Arizona which can transport 3,000 MW of reliable electricity across Western states. 

This superhighway for renewable power will deliver electricity generated by Pattern Energy's 3,515 MW SunZia Wind facility, the largest wind project in the Western Hemisphere, which is being constructed across New Mexico. 

The project is projected to have a $20.5 billion economic impact on the region while bringing the US closer to its goal of a 100% clean energy grid by 2030.

Societe Generale acted as Initial Coordinating Lead Arranger, Joint Bookrunner, Co-Green Loan Structuring Agent, LC Issuing Bank, Hedging Bank, Co-Syndication Bank, and E&S Lender in the USD $11 billion non-recourse financing of Pattern Energy's SunZia Transmission and SunZia Wind, which together is the largest clean energy infrastructure project in US history.

The transaction is the latest in a series of wind energy projects Societe Generale has helped facilitate in the U.S. Notably, the bank financed the first offshore wind farm in the U.S. in 2016 and worked with Pattern Energy in 2021 on Western Spirit, which was the largest single-phase wind farm in the U.S at the time. 

“The SunZia Wind and Transmission project is a testament to the power of partnership and how ambitious infrastructure planning and creative deal structuring can come together to move the needle on the transition away from fossil fuels,” said Vikrant Prakash, a banker on Societe Generale’s Energy + Americas team who worked on the historic transaction.