First offshore wind transaction for UK Green Investment Bank

OPW refinances 24.8% stake in Walney offshore wind farm

The Green Investment Bank (GIB) has completed its first transaction in the offshore wind sector by contributing to the refinancing of the Walney offshore wind farm. A consortium of five banks has provided senior debt financing of around £224m (€270m). Among the five is the GIB, which is lending about £45m (€54m) – approximately one fifth of the total.

In 2010, OPW – a joint venture between Dutch pension fund PGGM and renewable energy investor Ampere Equity Fund – acquired a 24.8% stake in Walney from the developer, DONG Energy. The new funding refinances this stake.

Backed by £3bn of funding from the UK Government, the GIB became fully operational in October 2012, when it was granted state aid approval by the European Commission to make investments on commercial terms

Shaun Kinsgbury, CEO of the GIB, said the offshore wind sector was "a priority sector" for the bank, adding: "Walney was particularly attractive as it ensures that capital is recycled in the marketplace [and] delivers a commercial return to the bank."

Mads Skovgaard-Anderson, head of UK commercial partnerships at DONG Energy said: "We are delighted that Walney was the first offshore wind project to benefit from the support of the UK Green Investment Bank."

The 367MW development comprises Walney 1 and Walney 2. Located 14km off the Cumbrian coast, they have been fully operational since July 2011 and June 2012 respectively.