Marubeni to acquire UK wind farm stake

Japanese trading company Marubeni Corporation is to acquire a 49.9% stake in Gunfleet Sands wind farm off England’s Essex coastline for £200m from Denmark’s DONG Energy. Earlier this year, DONG sold the wind farm’s transmission line to a consortium of investors.

Marubeni Corporation, the Japanese trading company, has signed an agreement to acquire a 49.9 percent stake in English offshore wind farm Gunfleet Sands from its owner, the Danish energy company DONG Energy. Marubeni is paying approximately £200 million (€232 million; $316 million) for the stake.

A statement from Marubeni said the transaction is expected to complete in the fourth quarter of this year, although it is dependent on Marubeni being able to obtain project financing commitments from financial institutions.

Located off Essex’s Thames Estuary, the 172-megawatt (MW) Gunfleet Sands wind farm produces green power equivalent to the annual power consumption of 125,000 UK households. It first started producing power in August 2009 and went into full production in the spring of 2010. 

The deal between Marubeni and DONG also involves a long-term purchase agreement for power production and green certificates stemming from Marubeni’s stake. The deal brings Marubeni’s total worldwide power generating capacity to 8,796 MW, including 450 MW of renewable energy assets.

Earlier this year, DONG Energy handed over ownership and operation of transmission links to Gunfleet Sands to the Transmission Capital Partners consortium comprising infrastructure investor International Public Partnerships Limited (INPP), Amber Infrastructure (the investment adviser to INPP) and Transmission Capital, a UK-based transmission company. The £52 million deal reached financial close in July.

The Gunfleet Sands project is one of nine transmission link projects worth a total of £1.1 billion that were the subject of an initial tendering process last year by Ofgem, the UK energy regulator. The Transmission Capital Partners consortium successfully bid for four of these, with the £65 million Robin Rigg project closed in March this year and two others scheduled to reach financial close by the end of this year.

The consortium has also been shortlisted for another three projects forming part of a second round of tenders to be awarded this year and next year.