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Deere Considers Selling Wind Energy Business

Farm equipment maker has been involved in financing, development and ownership of wind energy projects for the past five years and is now considering a possible sale.

MOLINE, Ill. (AP) -- Farm equipment maker Deere & Co. said Thursday it has hired investment adviser Goldman Sachs & Co. to review options for the company's wind energy business, including a possible sale.

Deere has been involved in the financing, development and ownership of wind energy projects for the past five years. In that time, the company has invested $1 billion into the business, said Ken Golden, director of public relations for the company. Golden declined to state the segment's revenue or profit.

Deere, based in Moline, Ill., said it has 34 wind energy projects in seven states with operational capacity of 706 megawatts. It also has numerous wind energy projects in development.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, one megawatt of wine can power 225-300 households a year.

Wind now rivals natural gas as the leading source of new electric generation in the U.S. Wind generates about 2 percent of Americans' electricity, and is being counted on to help move the country away from traditional sources of fuel that contribute to global warming.

But the government stimulus money that helped expand capacity last year is running out. Even though many states have adopted standards requiring certain amounts of electricity to come from renewable sources, Congress has yet to adopt a nationwide standard. Wind backers have said the lack of a such a standard is keeping wind from reaching its potential and providing stability for manufacturers to expand their U.S. operations.

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