United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Wind Wire: Funding source

A government plan, backed by the European Investment Bank (EIB), for around £1.4 billion of loans to independent wind developers in the UK, opened for business last month.

It could allow over 1.4 GW of onshore projects to move into construction over the next three years. Three commercial banks - RBS, Lloyds and BNP Paribas Fortis - will provide up to £700 million, matched by another £700 million of new finance from the EIB. The funding is targeted at small and medium-sized developers that have struggled to access project finance over recent months. This means that the loans will only be available to onshore projects that have a total project costs range between £20 million and £100 million. Project finance for onshore wind power has dropped from £336 million to £54 million so far this year, according to research carried out on behalf of the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA). Yet over the same period, on balance sheet investments have increased from £212 million in 2007 to £920 million. "Wind energy has never been a risky investment. In fact, wind farms in the UK have never defaulted on their loans," says BWEA chief executive Maria McCaffery. But turbulence in the financial markets has reduced the availability of debt finance for smaller and medium-sized projects, she adds.

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