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  • 17 Apr 2014

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City grant keeps wind company in town

The Iberdrola Renewables wind energy company has agreed to stay in town for 10 more years in exchange for a $1.155 million city grant to improve its leased space in Northwest Portland.

The Portland Development Commission announced the extension when it approved the grant at its Wednesday meeting. The funds will be paid to SPF Brewery Blocks, LLC for tenant improvement at Iberdrola's Portland offices, located at 1125 NW Couch in the River District Urban Renewal Area.

Iberdrola's Portland office supports approximately 350 high-skill, high-wage jobs. Like other wind energy companies, Iberdrola has been buffeted recently by construction slowdowns blame don expired federal tax credits. It recently began began the process of closing satellite offices in Chicago, Illinois and Boulder, Colorado.

Mayor Sam Adams praised the agreement, saying, 'Iberdrola Renewables is a significant member of Portland's clean tech cluster, and retaining this valuable company in the Central City for the long term has been one of the goals of the city's economic development strategy. We're committed to creating a competitive advantage for outstanding, job-creating employers like Iberdrola Renewables.'

Company Presdient and CEO Ralph Currey thanked the city for its support, saying, 'We have enjoyed significant growth in the renewables business in the past 10 years but the energy business by its nature is cyclical. Until the national policy environment improves, we are concentrating on efficiently running our operations. PDC is helping us upgrade critical links between power scheduling and our operations center. As a result, we continue to deepen our roots in Portland. We're proud to be part of the City's clean energy vision and we intend to be part of it for many years to come.'

PDC Board chair Scott Andrews said, 'I am thrilled PDC was able to play a role in ensuring Iberdrola maintains their U.S. headquarters and the accompanying 350 jobs here in Portland. We look forward to partnering with Iberdrola in the future on initiatives that further augment Portland's leadership position in the clean tech economy.'

Since it was created in 2001, Iberdrola Renewables has grown from 12 employees and no generating assets to its current position as the nation's second-largest wind farm owner with 850 employees nationwide and 5000 megawatts in operation, enough to power up approximately 1.5 million homes. The company says it has invested $9 billion in U.S. wind farms, solar ranches and other facilities. The company operates its fleet of more than 3,300 turbines in 20 different balancing areas from its state-of-the-art National Control Center in Portland and maintains its headquarters in Portland's Brewery Blocks. It is part of the Iberdrola group of companies, the fifth largest utility in the world.