Blackstone sells 288MW wind farm to China Three Gorges

The operator of the world's largest dam is set to acquire Germany's first fully privately financed offshore plant for €1.7bn.

New York-based Blackstone has agreed to sell its majority interest in a German offshore wind joint venture to China Three Gorges Corporation, the largest hydropower operator in China. 

WindMW is the owner of the 288MW Meerwind, one of Germany’s largest offshore wind farms with 80 turbines located off the German coast in the North Sea. Blacktone Energy Partners, along with affiliated private equity funds, holds an 80 percent stake in WindMW. 

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a Bloomberg Business report said the transaction was valued at €1.7 billion. German wind project developer Windland Energieerzeugungs holds WindMW's remaining 20 percent. 

Meerwind was the first German offshore wind project to be fully financed by private investors and one of the largest German offshore wind farms to achieve a full financial closing. 

It was also the first to close under Germany’s KfW financing programme, which is focused on helping Germany meet its renewable energy targets by providing debt financing to greenfield energy projects, and the first European offshore wind project to be financed through a project bond. 

Meerwind’s management team, which designed and built the plant, has been operating the plant in partnership with Blackstone since 2008. The windfarm was fully commissioned in February 2015. 

WindMW’s management team will continue to operate the business under China Three Gorges ownership. “We look forwards to working together with China Three Gorges, with whom we share a strong commitment to developing and operating renewable energy projects globally,” said Assheuer. 

With over $340 billion in assets under management, Blackstone has invested more than $9 billion of equity globally across the energy industry. In February 2015, the firm held a final close on its Blackstone Energy Partners II fund at $4.5 billion. Its predecessor was closed at $2.5 billion in 2012. 

China Three Gorges, a state-owned power company, operates the Three Gorges Dam project, the world’s largest hydroelectric power plant. It managed assets of CNY475.5 billion ($72 billion; €64 billion) as of December 2014, according to its website. Last month, it issued $1 billion in 10-year dollar bonds and $500 million in five-year dollar bonds. These were respectively oversubscribed 2.8 times and 3.6 times, according to the company.