Offshore wind project in Belgium achieves US$800 million financial close

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Offshore wind project in Belgium achieves US$800 million financial close

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Northwester 2, the project company for a 219 MW offshore wind farm to be located in the Belgian North Sea, has announced that the project has reached financial close. Northwester 2 is owned by Parkwind (70%) and Sumitomo Corporation (30%).

The project has raised approximately EUR700 million (US$806.2 million) funded by its shareholders and debt providers. The European Investment Bank (EIB) is committing EUR210 million (US$241.9 million), of which EUR100 million (US$115.2 million) is guaranteed by the Danish export credit agency EKF. The remainder is guaranteed under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

The commercial lenders involved are BNP Paribas Fortis, Rabobank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, ASN Bank, Belfius Bank, Triodos Bank, ING Bank, Société Général and KBC Bank.

With its financing secured, the project plans to start the construction works in the spring of 2019. The wind farm is expected to be completed in the first half of 2020. It will consist of 23 Vestas V164-9.5MW turbines, which will be able to generate 818,60 GWh of electricity annually, enough to cover the energy consumption of 220,000 households.

Northwester 2 has contracted Luxembourg-based construction group Jan de Nul to fabricate and install the turbine foundations. Other key suppliers include Bladt (offshore high voltage station), NSW (inter array cables) and Nexans (export cables).

Advisors to the financing transaction include Loyens & Loeff (sponsors' legal), Jones Day (lenders' legal) and Mott McDonald (lenders' technical). Marsh and Profin developed an insurance portfolio subscribed by lead insurer Codan.

To be built 50km off the coast of Ostend, Northwester 2 will be the sixth Belgian wind farm in the North Sea and the fourth Belgian offshore wind project to be supported under the EFSI. Earlier this year total offshore wind energy in Belgium reached a generating capacity equivalent to the full energy consumption of one million households.

This is set to increase imminently, as just last week cable manufacturer NKT commissioned the high-voltage cable system for the 309 MW Rentel offshore wind farm, located approximately 40km from Ostend. Turbine installation was completed last month, and full commercial operations are expected shortly.

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