Heavy-machinery producer Deere & Co., Moline, Ill., has inked a deal to sell John Deere Renewables LLC, its wind-energy business, to Chicago-based utility giant Exelon Corp. for up to $900 million. Expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, Deere initially gets $860 million plus up to $40 million more when planned construction projects start up. Deere formally entered the wind business in 2005 to help landowners develop wind farms. To date, Deere has installed 735 MW of wind capacity and has gathered leads on another 1,468 MW. Deere had sourced turbine gear from India’s Suzlon Energy Ltd.,
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.