Total Energy Ventures Invests in Wind Power


Wind turbines in the Shetland Islands in the United Kingdom

In its latest investment, Total Energy Ventures, the Group's venture capital arm, has acquired an interest in wind power start-up United Wind. Formed in 2013 in New York, United Wind develops small wind turbine projects for rural businesses and homes in the United States. Thanks to the company's turnkey leasing scheme, there is no upfront cost for customers to buy, insure or maintain the turbine. This innovative financing solution has already been used for solar power, but now it is coming to wind. United Wind founder Russell Tencer tells us more about the market's potential.

Portrait of Russell Tencer, founder of United Wind

Why did you connect your product to a payment solution like leasing? Is this the key to the consumer market that would otherwise be unable to access wind power?
Russell Tencer
/ Absolutely. Our innovative WindLease solution enables our customers to procure wind turbines with zero money down. Installation, maintenance and insurance are covered by United Wind. In return, customers sign a 20-year lease for these services and enjoy discounted clean energy worry free. WindLease offers them the ability to save 30% or more on their electricity bills over the 20-year lease term. The savings can range from $20,000 to $1,000,000 or more, depending on the type of customer.

Who are you targeting and what is the market's potential?
R. T.
/ We focus on rural property owners such as farmers, businesses and residential customers who have the right mix of land, wind and energy usage. The market potential in the U.S. alone for distributed wind (i.e., turbines installed at consumer sites) is $25 billion in total installed projects value. Worldwide, it's more than double that.

What are your mid-term objectives?
R. T.
/ We're currently present in New York, Colorado, and Kansas. Our plan over the next 12 months is to expand our sales and projects team footprint to 10 states through the Midwestern U.S. We are also starting to develop new products such as a community wind solution which will allow property owners who do not qualify for an on-site turbine, due to lack of land or wind availability, to benefit from distributed wind hosted on a local site that does qualify.

What does Total Energy Ventures' investment change for you?
R. T.
/ Total brings broad experience and knowledge in the traditional and renewable energy sectors. With that background Total, as a company that has successfully penetrated international markets, will serve as a sounding board to help us speed our development.

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