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CMS Energy purchases 51% ownership in Aviator wind farm

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Energy Global,

CMS Energy has announced it has purchased a majority stake in Aviator Wind, a 525 MW wind energy project in Texas, US, that will support efforts by Facebook and McDonald's to achieve their clean energy goals. The project will start operations by fall 2020 in Coke County, about 250 miles southwest of Dallas.

Aviator Wind will be operated by CMS Enterprises, a subsidiary of CMS Energy that develops, owns and operates utility-scale renewable energy facilities, including wind and solar.

“Through Aviator Wind, we're proud to continue the drive toward sustainable energy and help two of the nation's largest organisations meet their aggressive renewables goals,” said Richard Mukhtar, President of CMS Enterprises. “Facebook and McDonald's join a growing roster of CMS Enterprises customers that have access to the full spectrum of energy products and services that we provide under one roof.”

CMS Enterprises is focused on US-based utility-scale wind, solar and energy storage projects it can develop, own and operate for large customers, including electric cooperatives and municipalities. Most recently, CMS Enterprises started operating Northwest Ohio Wind, a 105 MW project that generates clean energy committed to General Motors. With the Aviator Wind acquisition, CMS Enterprises now owns and operates 11 independent power plants and more than 1800 MW of generation nationwide.

Aviator Wind will help Facebook – the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the US in 2019 – reach its goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 75% and support 100% of its operations with renewable energy this year. “This project will be an important part of helping us successfully reach our targets, and we are proud to be bringing 200 MW of new wind energy online,” said Urvi Parekh, Renewable Energy Manager at Facebook.

McDonald's is the world's first restaurant company to set a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. “Through this project, we're able to significantly generate progress toward our Climate Action Target to reduce emissions related to McDonald's restaurants and offices by 36% by 2030,” said Emma Cox, Sustainability Manager for McDonald's. “Now more than ever we're thrilled to see the positive impact this project will have on the community and planet.”

CMS Enterprises purchased the project's majority stake from funds managed by Ares Management Corporation's Infrastructure and Power strategy, which constructed and managed the project. Kansai Electric Power is the project's other major partner.

“Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, CMS Energy is committed to our Triple Bottom Line of People, Planet and Profit that drives us to take a leadership role with clean energy projects like Aviator Wind,” said DV Rao, CMS Energy's Senior Vice President of strategy. “Aviator Wind offers an example of how we can develop energy solutions that keep US businesses competitive and address our planet's most pressing needs.”

CMS Energy is a Michigan-based company that has an electric and natural gas utility, Consumers Energy, as its primary business. CMS Enterprises also owns and operates independent power generation businesses.

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