Maverick oilman Pickens puts $2B bet on Texas wind power

By Stephen Singer Modified: May 19, 2008 at 11:17 am •  Published: May 15, 2008

> Because it is unclear that the production tax credit will be in place, financing for many projects is still pending, she said.

"These projects are being held up and investment is at stake," Real de Azua said.

More than 5,200 megawatts of new wind power capacity was installed last year, more than double the amount in 2006, the American Wind Energy Association said.

The deal is a windfall for Fairfield-based GE, which makes jet engines, locomotives and water treatment plants and runs the NBC television network. Normally a reliable producer for its shareholders, GE's failure to hit its own projected earnings marks in the first quarter this year sent a ripple through Wall Street and underscored that even the world's largest companies are struggling with the weakened economy.

The announcement came a day after reports surfaced that the international conglomerate was shopping its 101-year-old appliance business for as much as $8 billion. Last year, it sold its struggling plastics business to to a Saudi company for $11.6 billion.

While GE has worked in recent years to shed underperforming products, Thursday's deal with Mesa Power was in line with its strategy to grow its renewable investment business.

GE set a goal of investing $6 billion in renewable energy by 2010, increasing its investment by 50 percent.

"As America's demand for energy escalates, it is clear that wind can and will play a bigger part in meeting that need," said Jeffrey R. Immelt, GE Chairman and CEO. "We're excited to partner with an energy visionary like T. Boone Pickens to bring our wind technology to the marketplace."

GE stock was trading Thursday afternoon at $32.28, down 23 cents.

___

AP Business Writer Adam Schreck in New York contributed to this report.