JV to Deliver 650 MW of Onshore Wind to Sweden

GE and Green Investment Group have partnered to deliver what will become the largest single site onshore wind farm in Europe, estimated to increase Sweden’s installed wind generation capacity by more than 12.5 percent.

GE and Green Investment Group Ltd., part of Macquarie Group, have entered in a partnership to deliver and operate 650 megawatts of onshore wind farm in Europe, through the Markbygden ETT wind farm in Northern Sweden. The project, the largest single site onshore wind farm in Europe, is estimated to increase Sweden’s installed wind generation by more than 12.5 percent.

The equity partners have raised approximately $928 million for the project that has already begun construction. The joint venture will begin commissioning turbines in the second half of 2018 and be fully operational by the end of 2019.

Technical details

GE Renewable Energy will supply 179 of its 3.6-megawatt turbines with 450-foot rotors to better cope with the project site’s wind speeds and climate. The turbine blades will feature an innovative ice mitigation system by LM Wind Power to ensure a stable level of availability and reduced downtime. In addition, GE has signed a 20-year full-service agreement, at the same time providing the high voltage switchgear for two collector substations through its Grid Solutions business.

“Markbygden ETT marks our commitment to the Swedish onshore wind arena and extends our presence in Europe while showcasing our technical capabilities—with LM Wind Power—and project development and management differentiators,” Peter McCabe, president & CEO of GE’s Onshore Wind Business, said in prepared remarks.

Project financing

The joint venture acquired the project from Sveving and invested more than $348 million in equity to finance the wind farm. The transaction marks Green Investment Group’s first equity investment following its acquisition by Macquarie and its first investment outside the United Kingdom. Funding for the project was gathered from development institutions, the export-credit market and commercial banks familiar with the Nordic energy market.

The project was financed on a non-recourse project financing basis with a little over $580 million in debt financing secured from European Investment Bank, Export Credit Guarantees of the Federal Republic of Germany (Hermes Cover), NordLB (acting as MLA advisor and ECA bank), KfW IPEX-Bank and HSH Nordbank.

The partnership originated and structured a 19-year fixed volume Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a subsidiary of Norsk Hydro, one of the largest producers of aluminum in the world. Furthermore, the PPA enables Norsk Hydro to fix the price of a significant portion of the electricity demand for their Norwegian aluminum manufacturing facilities, producing approximately 100,000 tonnes of aluminum per year.

NEAS Energy (part of Centrica plc) will provide an innovative structure for the sale of Elcerts (renewable energy certificates), balancing and hedging services for Markbygden ETT. The PPA considered to be the largest corporate wind energy PPA in the world.

“This project is a landmark transaction on many fronts and represents the new frontier in European onshore wind. It demonstrates that in the right market, with the right location, the right technology and the right partners, it is possible to develop and attract private capital into new onshore wind farms,” said Edward Northam, head of Green Investment Group in Europe.

About Markbygden ETT

Swedish company Svevind developed the project for more than 15 years. The developer’s work in the Markbygden area could lead to 1,101 wind turbines becoming operational, which would make it the largest collection of wind farms in Europe. The project will be built on properties owned by Sveaskog Förvaltnings AB, Sweden’s largest forest owner, SCA Skogsfastigheter AB, the largest private forest holding in Europe and several private property owners.

“Having worked on the development of the Markbygden cluster of wind farm projects since 2002, Svevind is very excited to see this partnership with GE Renewables, GE Energy Financial Services and the Green Investment Group come to fruition,” added Wolfganf Kropp, CEO of Svevind.

Images courtesy of GE Renewable Energy