Boulder Wind Power recently announced it closed $35 million in Series B Preferred Stockfinancing. The financing was provided by rare earth producer Molycorp, Inc. (NYSE:MCP) and venture capital firm NEA. Molycorp is the Western hemisphere's only producer of rare earth oxides (REO) and the largest REO producer outside of China. NEA is a key investment player in the clean energy, IT, and health care spaces, with more than $11 billion in committed capital. With the investment, Molycorp joins NEA on the board of Boulder Wind Power. It also positions Molycorp to become the "preferred provider" of rare earth magnets and/or alloys for wind generators using Boulder Wind Power’s innovative drivetrain technology.
BWP is developing and commercializing a radically different direct drive, permanent magnet generator for utility scale wind turbines. The Company is working with wind turbine manufacturers to integrate its patented generator and power converter designs and components into their next generation wind turbines. The BWP technology will enable manufacturers to deliver wind turbines with a cost of energy 20% to 30% below existing geared and direct drive technologies. The technology also provides a common platform that can be scaled up for larger onshore and offshore wind turbines.Boulder Wind Power's patented technology allows for the use of rare earth permanent magnets that do not require dysprosium, a relatively scarce rare earth. By utilizing dysprosium-free permanent magnets, and other engineering innovations that dramatically reduce the use of structural steel and eliminate the use of expensive laminated electrical steel, wind turbines incorporating Boulder Wind Power's technology are expected to produce power at or below $0.04 cents per kilowatt-hour, positioning it to compete directly with fossil fuel-based generation.
“The relationship between Molycorp and Boulder Wind Power is truly symbiotic,” said Boulder Wind Power’s Vice President of Business Strategy and Chief Financial Officer, Tim Connor. “It enables Boulder Wind Power to assure its customers of rare earth supply and provides a great channel into the wind market for Molycorp to sell large quantities of the rare earth materials used in permanent magnets.”"Boulder Wind Power's innovative technology promises to dramatically accelerate the global deployment of high-efficiency, advanced wind turbines," said Mark A. Smith, Molycorp's President and Chief Executive Officer. "By effectively solving the dysprosium supply problem for the wind turbine industry, this technology removes a major hurdle to the expansion of permanent magnet generator wind turbines across global markets. This investment also furthers Molycorp's 'mine-to-magnets' business strategy, and our commitment to manufacturing value-added 'green energy materials,' by providing us with potentially large markets for the magnetic rare earth materials we will produce."
Sandy Butterfield, Boulder Wind Power's Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are thrilled to have Molycorp as a major investor and partner in Boulder Wind Power. Gaining access to Molycorp's magnetic rare earth materials positions our superior technology to be broadly adopted and deployed and will help accelerate the growth of our company.""Linking such an innovative wind energy technology with U.S. sourced rare earth production creates many potentially powerful synergies," said Dan Arvizu, Director of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). "It promises to strengthen the ability of the U.S. to manufacture wind turbines domestically and to compete more effectively in global markets."