CDC Infrastructure seals first offshore wind deal

The €1.3bn Butendiek farm, backed by the likes of Marguerite Fund, Siemens, Industrien Pension and PKA, is due to be completed by mid-2015.

CDC Infrastructure, the infrastructure arm of French pension Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, has bought a 7.5 percent stake in German-based Butendiek wind farm.

The institution has acquired its holding from the EU-focused Marguerite Fund, which divested a third of its 22.5 percent stake in the greenfield project.

The Butendiek wind farm will be located in the North Sea, in the German Exclusive Economic Zone, 32 kilometres west of the island of Sylt. It will comprise 80 wind turbines with an installed capacity of 288 megawatts (MW).

In addition to CDC Infrastructure and Marguerite, its shareholder base includes Germany’s Siemens Financial Services (22.5 percent), Danish pension administrators Industrien Pension (22.5 percent) and PKA (22.5 percent), and wpd (10 percent), the developer of the project.

Construction of the farm, set to start in the first half of 2014, will last until mid-2015. Once connected to the grid, CDC Infrastructure says it will provide enough electricity to power 370,000 homes.

“This acquisition represents CDC Infrastructure’s first investment in the offshore wind sector, aiming to bring others in its wake, notably in France. The renewable energies are one of the most important pillars to achieve the energy transition, a crucial issue for the French and European economies,” commented Jean Bensaid, CEO of CDC Infra Management, in a statement.

CDC founded CDC Infrastructure in 2010, with a view to stepping up its direct investments in infrastructure and energy. The unit, which makes 80 percent of its investment in France, targets a €1.5 billion portfolio by end of 2014.

Its current interests include France’s gas transportation network GRT Gaz, high-speed rail Lisea, motorway company Sanef, Viaduc de Millau bridge and the Gaz de Strasbourg utility as well as Norwegian gas transport systems owner Gassled and cross-channel tunnel operator Eurotunnel.

CDC is also a shareholder in Marguerite, the 2020 European Fund for Energy, Climate Change and Infrastructure, alongside the European Investment Bank (EIB), Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, Instituto de Crédito Oficial, KfW and PKO Bank Polski.

Managed by Marguerite Advisers, the fund launched in 2010 with €710 million of investable dry powder. It had committed around €300 million as of May this year, according to Infrastructure Investor Research and Analytics.