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Big financing in place

Completion of financing for nearly 170 MW of wind power plant in Italy has been clinched with Greenwich Natwest Plc of Britain, reports the developer of the projects, Italian Vento Power Corporation (IVPC). "We believe this is the single largest wind energy financing in the history of the industry. It clearly demonstrates a new level of maturity in the wind energy business," says IVPC's Brian Caffyn. A construction/term loan for up to ITL 347 billion has been agreed. The money will be used to refinance IVPC's existing 59.4 MW of wind turbines and to provide construction and term financing for an additional 109.8 MW over the next two years. "The loan will convert to a term financing in stages as certain portions of the overall project are completed," says Caffyn. The financing closed on February 28 and was funded shortly afterwards. "This program represents a major step forward for Italy in reaching its goals for wind power," adds Oreste Vigorita, also of IVPC. The entire turbine supply is being met by Vestas Wind Systems of Denmark through a turnkey contract it won in an international tender. So far 63, V42 turbines and 33 V44 turbines are up and running. A further 131 V44 units and 50 V47 units are still to be installed. Greenwich Natwest, which has previously lent money to wind projects, was selected from proposals submitted by a number of leading European and Japanese banks, says Caffyn. IVPC is 50% owned by Japan's Tomen Power (Europe) BV and 50% by IVPC Energy BV (Windpower Monthly, December 1997). The projects are being installed in 11 council regions in southern Italy. Finance is also being sought for a further 60 MW of wind power in the same area.

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