Belgium

Belgium

Details emerge of €850m Northwind finance deal

Banks back Belgian project, with build to begin March 2013

Financial close has been achieved for the 216MW Northwind offshore wind station in Belgian waters, as reported by Windpower Offshore earlier today. Total project financing amounts to €850m with details of the deal indicating a healthy level of support from investors, which include commercial banks and institutional investment funds.

Northwind was known as Eldepasco until April 2011, when a change of project ownership resulted in a new name. Depret and Electrawinds sold their shares to the project's other shareholders, Colruyt Group and Aspiravi, which increased the latter companies' holdings to 66.7% and 33.3% respectively.

Project financing is being funded, in part, via a 30% equity stake maintained by Parkwind – part of the Colruyt Group – and Aspiravi Offshore. The two project developers are supplying €80.6m and, in addition, are supported by five backers, which will provide €174.4m of 'mezzanine' debt. These are: PMV/PMF, DG Infra/Inframan/GIMV, Korys/DHAM and Autofinancing.

On the debt side, the remaining 70% in project finance - totalling €595m – will be provided by ASN Bank, Belfius, BNP Paribas Fortis, European Investment Bank (EIB), ING, KfW Ipex, MTI, Pension Danmark and the Rabobank.

Debt guarantors are: EIB, EKF, GIEK and the Office National Du Ducroire (ONDD)- Delcredere.

The commercial banks providing Northwind with a 17 year loan facility are each supplying the same sum. In addition, Rabobank will offer a working capital facility, according to Pieter Plantinga, vice president of Rabobank's renewable energy & infrastructure finance division.

As expected, Vestas confirmed it will supply, install and commission 72 V112-3.0 MW turbines, as well as provide a 15-year service and maintenance agreement. Completion is planned for the second quarter of 2014, according to Vestas.

Northwind will be built 37km off the Belgian port of Oostende, within a 14.5km² site and in water depths ranging 16-29m. The station is expected to generate 0.875TWh per year, representing 1% of Belgium's annual electricity consumption (based on 2011 levels). This is equivalent to 4,050 full load hours per year.

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