The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide £51 million (US$78 million) backing for the Gwynt y Môr offshore transmission link, located in the Wales coast.
The offshore transmission link includes two offshore substations, and over 120km of high-voltage transmission cables, as well as a new substation at St Asaph Business Park.
The total project investment is estimated at £352 million (US$538.2 million). The EIB will support the Gwynt y Môr OFTO using the project bond credit enhancement facility to enhance the credit rating of bonds issued to finance the project. The Gwynt y Môr transmission link is the largest OFTO to be financed through capital markets to date.
Past offshore transmission links supported by the EIB in UK waters under the OFTO regime include Walney 1 and 2, Sheringham Shoal, Greater Gabbard and London Array.
The project will link Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm, located in Liverpool Bay, eight miles off the north Wales coast. The wind farm will produce enough electricity to cater for the energy needs of 400,000 homes with 160 turbines, with tips up to 150 m above sea level, able to generate 576 MW.
Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank, stated:
“Investment in renewable energy helps to reduce carbon emissions and benefits local economic activity. The European Investment Bank is committed to supporting energy investment across the UK, including development of the offshore wind energy sector. We are pleased to be able to support the Gwynt y Môr project and continue our close cooperation with Ofgem to connect offshore windfarms to the national grid. The scheme is already creating jobs in north Wales and elsewhere, and clearly demonstrates the huge potential of harnessing wind energy in UK waters.”
Over the last 5 years the EIB has provided over £7 billion in long-term loans to support investment in the UK energy sector. This has included backing for new onshore and offshore windfarms, improvements to the national electricity transmission and distribution network.