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Offshore Wind Updates: Cape Wind Financing, Deepwater Proposal, Massive UK Project Approvals

The offshore wind industry saw some action from both sides of the pond this week, with several announcements coming from projects off the coast of Massachusetts, New York and Scotland.

After recent wins in court, Cape Wind officially announced that it has secured an additional $600 million in financing with The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU). The bank secured two lead arrangers, Natixis and Rabobank, to help structure the financing to additional lenders. BTMU project finance director Takaki Sakai said there is significant additional “interest in Cape Wind among other commercial banks active in project financing,” and expects to complete commercial bank syndication soon.

Combined with Danish credit export agency EKF’s $600 million and PensionDanmark’s $200 million pledges, the project will secure more than $1 billion in debt financing when all bank approvals are finalized, which is expected by the third quarter of this year, according to Cape Wind president Jim Gordon. Upon completion, the project is set to finally commence construction by the end of 2014 after more than a decade of hurdles.

“New England urgently needs the jobs and clean energy that Cape Wind will produce,” said Gordon in a release. “We are pleased that these experienced offshore wind lenders are supporting our efforts to diversify our region's energy mix and helping to launch the U.S. offshore wind industry."

Further south in New Jersey, Deepwater Wind (currently racing with Cape Wind to commission the first U.S. offshore wind project) hopes to supply eastern Long Island with more than 200 MW of offshore wind energy. In response to Long Island Power Authority’s request for new sources of renewable energy, Deepwater proposed its Deepwater ONE offshore farm located off the coast of Rhode Island and 30 miles east of Montauk, New York — just far enough to be out of sight, according to Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski. 

“Our proposal not only provides a cost-effective source of new clean energy,” said Grybowski in a release, “but it also has the unique ability to deliver large quantities of energy to the East End — where demand is growing — without being seen.” 

Deepwater won a 30-year lease last year to develop wind projects in the first-ever competitive auction for offshore renewable energy in the U.S. It pledged $3.8 million for two parcels that cover more than 164,000 acres and hold more than 3 GW of potential. 

According to the proposal, Deepwater ONE would provide peak power to an existing substation via buried cables. Construction could begin in 2017 and the project could be up and running by 2018. 

Crossing the Atlantic to the U.K., which is no stranger to offshore wind, the 1.1-GW Moray Offshore Wind Farm was granted consent for construction and operation by the Scottish government earlier this month, and has now been approved by environmental advisor Natural Power. Located 13.5 miles off the Caithness coast in Scotland, the project will be the second-largest in U.K. waters and third largest in the world. 

Natural Power completed a four-year assessment, which included scoping, consulting and an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) that involved an evaluation of bird and marine life.

“This is a critical step not only in the delivery of this project, but in the development of offshore wind in deeper water, further from shore,” said João Manso Neto, CEO of developer EDP Renováveis. “This project will provide the U.K. with a significant new generation resource at a time when many aging thermal power stations are coming off-line, generation capacity is shrinking, and gas prices are rising. It will deliver improved security of supply, and greater insulation for consumers from volatile fossil fuel prices.” 

We will continue to watch these projects and provide updates as they develop.

Lead image: Offshore wind via Shutterstock

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