Project finance just a matter of time

The 90 MW near-shore Nordergrunde wind farm is on track to become Germany's first commercial, project-financed offshore wind power station, but the financial meltdown is slowing the pace of raising capital, says developer Energiekontor. Noting that banks, under pressure to fill the gap left by scarcer project equity, are taking longer to agree to loans, the firm is postponing evaluation of the project for investors until 2009.

The company remains upbeat, however. "There is no doubt that we will get financing arranged. It's just a question of time," says Energiekontor's Cerstin Kratsch. Germany's guaranteed fixed payments for electricity from wind make investment attractive, she says. The company has a provisional agreement on financing from Dutch bank NIBC and talks are ongoing.

It has also got the final permit required from the local Oldenburg authorities. The total investment, including foundations and the offshore transformer station, exceeds EUR 300 million. The station will be located within Germany's 12 nautical mile zone in the Weser estuary, about 15 kilometres north-west of the island Wangerooge.

The project will use 18 Repower 5 MW turbines, with towers supplied by German firm Ambau from its Cuxhaven factory and blades by Danish LM Glasfiber. Production of the turbine nacelles and assembly will be at Repower's new factory in Bremerhaven. Turbine delivery is scheduled for 2009 with commissioning in 2010.