BOSTON - Deere & Co has retained Goldman Sachs Group Inc to help review options for its $1 billion wind energy portfolio, including a possible sale, the U.S. agricultural equipment maker said on Thursday.
The world's largest maker of tractors and harvesters said it owns 34 wind farms in seven U.S. states that are capable of generating 706 megawatts of power, in addition to owning some wind farms that are still in development.
The Moline, Illinois-based company's wind energy arm is an outgrowth of its credit business, which also helps farmers and other customers to finance purchases of Deere equipment.
While the turbines can tower hundreds of feet above the ground, they have a relatively small footprint, which has encouraged some small-scale U.S. farmers to allow turbines to be installed on their land as an additional source of income.
At the end of 2009, the United States had about 35,000 megawatts of installed wind capacity, enough to power 9.7 million typical American homes, according to data from the American Wind Energy Association.
Other major investors in U.S. wind farms include Florida utility FPL Group Inc and conglomerate General Electric Co.
(Reporting by Scott Malone, editing by Dave Zimmerman)