United Kingdom

United Kingdom

SSE and Equinor reach financial close for 1.2GW Dogger Bank C offshore project

SSE and Equinor's £3 billion project finance package confirms first commercial order for GE's 14MW Haliade-X turbine

Seaway 7 has been awarded the contract to install monopile foundations and transition pieces at Dogger Bank C, with the work expected to commence in 2024
Seaway 7 has been awarded the contract to install monopile foundations and transition pieces at Dogger Bank C, with the work expected to commence in 2024

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Financial close has been achieved for the 1200MW Dogger Bank C Dogger Bank C (1200MW) Offshoreoff Yorkshire, UK, Europe Click to see full details, the third phase of SSE Renewables and Equinor's 3.6GW offshore wind hub off England’s north-east coast.

The news means the first commercial order for GE's upgraded Haliade-X 14 MW can proceed, with 87 of the company's latest turbine design being installed at Dogger Bank C.

GE and Dogger Bank have also finalised the service and warranty contract for a five-year full-service agreement that will begin once the Dogger Bank C phase is commissioned in 2026.

With the green light of the order for the 14MW turbines, the total number of Haliade-X units will now rise to 277, including 190 13MW units to be installed at 2400MW Dogger Bank A & B Dogger Bank A & B (2400MW) Offshoreoff Yorkshire, UK, Europe Click to see full details.

Dogger Bank C will require total capital expenditure of around £3 billion (€3.5 billion), including the Capex for the offshore transmission station (OFTO). Equinor said the terms achieved for the financing are “highly competitive” and “some of the best ever for a construction offshore wind project in the UK”.

The project finance debt package was secured from a consortium of 28 banks and three export credit agencies (ECAs), including French ECA Bpifrance Assurance Export. GE Energy Financial Services partnered with the co-sponsors to support insurance cover from Bpifrance, which insured a portion of the ECA debt financing. Separate debt facilities structured by the co-sponsors are supported by EKN, the Swedish export credit agency and Export Finance Norway (Eksfin), the Norwegian export credit agency.

Dogger Bank C is being project financed with a debt-to-equity ratio of around 70% for the generation assets. For the transmission facilities, the ratio is set at 90% of the forecast OFTO sale proceeds, in line with standard market practice in the sector. Total senior debt facilities are around £2.5 billion, plus ancillary facilities of around £435 million.

Together with the financing of Dogger Bank A and B last year, reaching financial close on all three phases of the complex is the world’s largest offshore wind project financing to-date.

Pål Eitrheim, Equinor’s executive vice president of renewables, said: "The significant appetite from lenders underpins the attractiveness of UK offshore wind assets and the confidence in SSE and Equinor as developers. The level of interest achieved reflects the quality of the project and combined with capturing significant value from divestments enables a strong return on equity.”

The three 1.2GW phases of Dogger Bank Wind Farm are expected to reach full commercial operation in 2026, with turbine installation beginning in 2025. All three phases were successful in the 2019 contracts for difference (CfDs) allocation round, the UK government’s auction for renewable power. 

SSE Renewables is leading on the development and construction of the projects, while Equinor will operate them on completion for their expected operational life of around 35 years. Dogger Bank A and B is a joint venture between SSE Renewables (40%), Equinor (40%) and Eni (20%).

In November, it was announced the same share structure will apply to Dogger Bank C, with an agreement for Eni to acquire a 20% share in the project in early 2022.

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