A family member had passed this information to me about a rapidly growing wind energy company that is truly fascinating. Horizon Wind Energy has projects all across the US, both built and currently in progress. Additionally, they are one of the largest owners of wind generation assets in the world. If this kind of story tickles your fancy, continue reading on to get the full account.
Horizon Wind Energy is based in Houston, Texas with regional offices in New York, Oregon, Illinois, California, Colorado and Minnesota. In 1998, the father and son team, Selim and Michael Zilkha, purchased one half of a small Dallas-based wind development company called International Wind. While the Zilkha’s were well-known in the oil and gas sector, this was their first foray into renewable energy. They were committed to the energy business and strongly attracted to the idea of non-polluting renewable energy in the interest of moving towards sustainability and energy independence. In 2000, the Zilkha’s bought out International Wind and renamed the company Zilkha Renewable Energy. They brought on-board a core team of key employees with diverse interests; the initial team included people as diverse as wind energy specialists, traditional power plant developers, Peace Corps participants, and people who has worked for public interest organizations.
The Zilkha’s took great pride in running the company as a family business. This culture helped set the company apart from its competitors. The company was unique in the way it worked with landowners and communities where projects were being developed. Zilkha Renewable Energy thought of the partnership with landowners as more than business transactions.When developing and constructing a project, the company accounted for the beauty of the land, its value as a working piece of property, and its connection to the livelihood of the community. That culture and way of doing business still runs true today.
In the summer of 2005, Zilkha Renewable Energy was acquired by Goldman Sachs, a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm. The company’s name was changed to Horizon Wind Energy. Goldman Sachs, with its financial strength, financing expertise, and access to large sums of capital, was a more logical owner. Capitalizing on Goldman Sachs’ financing, Horizon switched from a pure-play developer to a project owner. Horizon rapidly expanded projects throughout the United States. On July 2, 2007, Energias de Portugal, S.A. (EDP), a major Portuguese utility, acquired 100% of the share capital of Horizon Wind Energy LLC from Goldman Sachs.
Image and text copyright Horizon Wind Energy