Financial close for £2.6bn Beatrice offshore wind farm

PensionDanmark is investing $541m through Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, its first investment in UK offshore wind.

The sponsors and lenders of the Beatrice Offshore wind farm have reached financial close on the £2.6 billion project ($3.8 billion; €3.4 billion), one of Scotland’s largest ever infrastructure developments.

The 558MW farm is co-owned by UK energy developer SSE (40 percent), Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (35 percent) and Beijing-based SDIC Power Holdings (25 percent). The Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm, off the coast of Wick in the Outer Moray Firth, has been financed with £1.47 billion of debt from 13 commercial lenders, the Danish export credit agency Eksport Kredit Fonden (EKF) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners' investment is being made through its Copenhagen Infrastructure I and II funds, anchored by PensionDanmark. The pension said it was committing DKr 2.8 billion ($421 million; €376 million) through Fund I and DKr 800 million through Fund II. According to PensionDanmark chief executive Torben Moger Pedersen, this was the pension’s first investment in a British offshore wind farm, though it has previously invested in wind projects in the US, Denmark, Germany and the UK.

The EIB provided a 19-year, £525 million loan for the project, its single largest investment in an offshore wind project. This is also the first project in Scotland to receive support from the EIB’s new European Fund for Strategic Investments, established last year to increase lending for crucial projects, including renewable energy, digital and social infrastructure and transportation.

The project first received Scottish and UK government approval in 2014 and is expected to be operational by 2019. The 84-turbine farm is expected to power around 450,000 homes. Paul Cooley, director of renewables at SSE, said there should be £10 million of investment at Wick Harbour to house the project’s operations and maintenance facilities.

Linklaters, a London-based law firm, advised the project sponsors on all aspects of the project, including the debt acquisition. It also recently advised on the financing of the £1.3billion Dudgeon offshore wind farm, which closed this month and is under development by Masdar, Statoil and Statkraft.