Green Investment Group makes first non-UK investment

SWEDEN: The Green Investment Group (GIG) has announced a 650MW onshore wind farm as its first investment since being bought by investment firm Macquarie.

Svevind has developed the Markbygden ETT site (above) over a period of 15 years (pic credit: Svevind)

The group has launched a joint venture (JV) with GE Renewable Energy to acquire the Markbygden ETT site, from Swedish developer Svevind. The project will comprise 179 GE 3.6MW turbines with 137-metre rotors. 

GIG is the former UK-state-owned Green Investment Bank. The acquisition is GIG’s, first investment since the group was privatised by Australian investment firm Macquarie in August and is also the firm's first non-UK investment.

Aluminium-producer Norsk Hydro will buy an unspecified quantity of the power from Markbygden ETT as part of a 19-year power purchase agreement (PPA). The deal is thought to be the world’s largest corporate wind energy PPA, GE said.

The site in northern Sweden is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2019 and could be Europe’s largest onshore wind farm when completed.

GIG and GE raised approximately €800 million to finance the acquisition of the project.

Nearly €500 million of this amount is debt financing secured from the European Investment Bank (EIB), German banks KfW IPEX-Bank and HSH Nordbank, and Export Credit Guarantees of the Federal Republic of Germany, the equity partners said.

Edward Northam, head of GIG in Europe, said: "It demonstrates that in the right market, with the right location, the right technology and the right partners, it is possible to develop and attract private capital into new onshore wind farms."

The UK government sold its Green Investment Bank (GIB) to a consortium led by investors Macquarie for £2.3 billion (€2.75 billion) in August.

The body had invested exclusively in UK low-carbon projects, and particularly in offshore wind, including E.on’s 400MW Rampion site, the 630MW London Array and Innogy’s 576MW Gwynt y Mor.

The privatisation of the bank enabled it to make overseas investments, the UK’s climate change and industry minister Claire Perry explained in August.

Swedish company Svevind developed the Markbygden ETT project, situated west of the northern city of Piteå, over a 15-year period.

The site is part of a cluster of projects that could have a total of 1,101 turbines, Svevind said.