Blackstone to invest EUR 2.5bn in wind farms in North Sea - report
(SeeNews) – Aug 5, 2011 – US financial investor Blackstone (NYSE:BX) plans to invest EUR 2.5 billion (USD 3.54bn) in two wind farms in the North Sea and is expected today to wrap up financing for the first one, Financial Times Deutschland reported on Friday.
The funding deal with seven banks envisages a EUR 822 million loan, a third of which will be provided by state-owned lender KfW. The Meerwind offshore project, announced in 2008, is estimated at EUR 1.2 billion. Blackstone will finance the remaining costs with own equity. The wind farm will have 80 wind turbines with a combined capacity of 288 MW, sufficient to power 400,000 households. The facility is to be completed in 2013.
The investor has recently obtained a permit for the construction of a second wind plant, worth EUR 1.3 billion. It is expected to be completed by 2016 and have 64 wind turbines. The group is in talks to buy a third permit as it wants to create the first offshore wind energy company in Europe, CEO Sean Klimczak told the daily.
Blackstone planned the projects after the German government decided to offer support to renewable energy projects due to the phase-out of nuclear power by 2022. The company is to benefit from the EUR 5 billion credit programme of the government and KfW directed at privately financed offshore wind farm projects.
Blackstone expects the annual rate of return on the investment to be 15-20%, since the energy produced by an off-shore wind farm is more expensive. The price for off-shore wind energy is EUR 150 per 1 MW/h.