WindMW completes financing for German offshore wind farm

By Renewable Energy Focus Staff

WindMW, which is majority owned by funds managed by Blackstone, has completed financing for the 288 MW German offshore wind farm Meerwind.

According to Blackstone, Meerwind is the largest German offshore wind farm to complete its full financing process and the first to be fully financed by private investors.

The 80-turbine wind farm will be situated approximately 50km off the German coast in the North Sea and construction is expected to be completed in 2013. Once finished, Meerwind will produce sufficient power to service approximately 400,000 households.

Meerwind is only the second German offshore wind farm to complete its financing, according to Blackstone, and is the first to close under the offshore wind programme KfW.

A group of 7 commercial lenders, including Commerzbank, KfW IPEX-Bank, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Dexia, Lloyds Banking Group, Santander and Siemens Bank together with Danish export credit agency EKF and KfW-Bankengruppe, will provide total financing of €822 million (£721m) for the project, with a total investment cost of €1.2b. Blackstone affiliates will provide most of the project’s invested equity.

The investment funds the installation of 80 sub-structures (monopile foundations) with Siemens 3.6MW-120 wind turbines, the laying of infield cables and the installation of the farm's offshore high voltage substation.

Connection to the main grid, as per German law, will be undertaken by the grid operator TenneT TSO. Peter Giller, a WindMW Board Member, says: “The German government has demonstrated tremendous leadership in supporting private offshore wind development and we are pleased that Meerwind is the first project to reach financial close under the visionary KfW Programme."

Jens-Peter Saul, CEO of Business Unit Siemens Wind Power, says: “The entry of new stakeholders into the offshore wind business will clearly boost the massive development of energy from the sea."

Blackstone has also obtained permission to construct the Nördlicher Grund wind farm. The 64-turbine wind farm with an estimated construction cost of €1.3b will be situated approximately 100km off the German coast in the North Sea. Construction is expected to commence in 2013 with completion in 2016.