Renewable energy company Mainstream Renewable Power is to invest $1.69 billion over four years to develop a portfolio of wind power projects in the USA.

The Ireland-based company has purchased the portfolio of three separate projects for an undisclosed sum from a US wind power developer and says that its goal is to supply enough electricity to meet the needs of 200 000 homes in the USA by 2013.

The acquisition of the assets – located near Chicago, Illinois – marks the company’s entry to the US market. It is already developing projects in South Africa, Canada, Chile and the UK and says that the US administration’s energy policy and the country’s economic stimulus package makes it an attractive market.

The acquired assets consist of the 120 MW Shady Oaks project, the 467 MW Green River project, and the 200 MW Boone County project. Shady Oaks is the most advanced of the three and is due to start construction in 2010.

Green River is expected to be construction-ready by the end of 2010 while Boone County is at an early stage of development.

“The US market is of strategic importance to Mainstream, and the scale of the opportunity is strongly reflected in President Obama’s economic stimulus package, which includes $56 billion in grants and tax breaks for US clean energy projects over the next ten years and a budget of $15 billion a year to fund renewable energy programs,” said Mainstream CEO Dr Eddie O’Connor. “The Administration’s goal of generating 25 per cent of the nation’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025 will help revitalise the US economy and protect consumers.”

Mainstream says that the Shady Oaks project will employ around 120 people during the construction phase and provide on-going employment for 12 people.

“Renewable energy has a huge role to play in reversing the economic downturn,” said O’Connor. “Countries need large-scale indigenous energy sources such as wind power to stabilize fuel prices, create jobs and reduce carbon emissions and reliance on imported fossil fuels. What’s needed is vision, expertise and innovation, and Mainstream’s team of almost 100 highly experienced staff is focused on delivering these projects into operation by 2013.”

Mainstream established a US office in 2008 and in recent months has signed deals to develop a 400 MW pipeline of projects in Canada, over 500 MW in South Africa and 400 MW in Chile. It has also been awarded the right to develop an offshore wind farm off the coast of Scotland with a potential capacity of up to 420 MW.