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Friday, 5 August 2011

Blackstone Gets Financing for $1.7 Billion Offshore Wind Farm

Aug. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Blackstone Group LP, the biggest private-equity firm, secured financing for a 1.2 billion-euro ($1.7 billion) wind farm in the German North Sea as the nation abandons nuclear power in favor of renewable energy.
The 288-megawatt Meerwind project southwest of Helgoland will be Germany's largest offshore wind-energy plant, Blackstone Managing Director Sean Klimczak said today in a briefing in Berlin. The New York-based company also bought a license for a second offshore wind project expected to cost 1.3 billion euros and said it may buy more permits.
The 822 million-euro funding was granted by a group of seven commercial banks and two state-owned lenders, according to Peter Giller, board member at WindMW GmbH, the German developer majority-owned by Blackstone-controlled funds that secured the financing.
Germany's government is pushing development of sea-based electricity plants to make up for lost capacity as the country plans to shut down its atomic reactors by 2022, which last year comprised 23 percent of the nation's installed generation base.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's government has raised subsidies for offshore wind farms as part of a plan to install 10,000 megawatts of sea-based turbines by the end of this decade, up from about 210 megawatts now.
Germany's largest offshore wind farm that's already operating is the 60-megawatt Alpha Ventus project, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
For the Meerwind project, the banks include Germany's Commerzbank AG, Banco Santander SA of Spain, and Lloyds Banking Group Plc together with Denmark's export credit agency EKF and German development bank KfW, Giller said. KfW and EKF are each providing 245 million euros.
Construction will start Sept. 1, 2012, and is due to be completed in 2013, Giller said.

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