UPDATE 1-UAE's TAQA buying 50 pct stake in U.S. wind project

ABU DHABI Wed Jan 9, 2013 8:37am EST

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ABU DHABI Jan 9 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi National Energy Company on Wednesday said it is buying a 50 percent stake in a wind power project from a subsidiary of France's EDF in its first such U.S. acquisition.

Owned 75 percent by the government of Abu Dhabi, TAQA will take a 50 percent interest in the 205.5 megawatt (MW) Lakefield wind project in Jackson County, Minnesota, TAQA said in a statement.

Taqa did not disclose the price of the acquisition, which is expected to close in the first quarter of this year.

Under the terms of the agreement, EDF will continue to provide operation, maintenance and related services. Japan's Marubeni holds the remaining 50 percent in the project.

"The Lakefield acquisition is a first step in the evolution of TAQA's global strategy for alternative energy sources. It complements our existing assets in North America and gives us a foothold in the fast-growing global wind market," said Saif al Sayari, Taqa's executive officer and head of energy solutions.

"The knowledge and international footprint established with this transaction will enable us to take a leading role in developing other international projects."

TAQA will use available cash on hand to acquire the stake in Lakefield, a company spokesman said.

TAQA has operations in western Canada and the northern United States where it produced 88,100 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2011.

It also has an interest in a tolling agreement for the Red Oak power plant in Sayreville, New Jersey.

TAQA's total global power generation capacity in 2011 was 15,413 MW.

It launched its Energy Solutions division last year to invest in alternative energy projects such as wind, solar, geothermal, waste-to-energy and hydropower as well as unconventional fossil-fuel projects.

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