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28 August 2009

Mott MacDonald is lenders engineer on first offshore wind farm of its kind

Mott MacDonald marked the financial close on the largest offshore wind farm to be financed on a non recourse basis this month. The global management, engineering and development consultancy was appointed as lenders engineer by lenders ASN Bank, Dexia Bank Belgium, Dexia Credit Local, Rabobank, PMV, EKF and the European Investment Bank (EIB) for the €545 million credit facilities they arranged for the project.

The project known as Bligh Bank Offshore Wind Farm will see the construction and operation by Belwind of the first phase of a 165 mega watt wind farm comprising 55 three mega watt wind turbine generators, to be located 47 kilometres off the Belgian coast near Zeebrugge.

Mott MacDonald’s team of renewables professionals will analyse the project throughout both the design and construction phases identifying any risks and communicating them to the lenders along with making recommendations to mitigate those risks. In addition to providing a due diligence report, Mott MacDonald’s team has provided technical assistance to the Lenders up to financial close including negotiations of the main agreements for the contractors.

Sebastien Moine, Mott MacDonald’s project manager said, “This is a very exciting project and we’re delighted to be selected by the lenders. Mott MacDonald has a wealth of experience in providing technical consultancy for both sponsors and financiers on major renewable projects around the world and we’re thrilled to assist on this major first for the offshore wind farm sector.”

The wind farm sponsored by Belwind (a consortium of Belgian and Dutch investors) has a total investment cost of €610 million.

Wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas Offshore A/S (Vestas), and marine contractor Van Oord Dredging and Marine Contractors NV (Van Oord), will build and Vestas will operate the project under a medium term operations and maintenance contract. The electricity generated will be sold to Electrabel NV under a long term contract while the green certificates allocated to the project under Belgian law will be sold to Elia, the grid operator under prevailing regulations (107€ per megawatt-hour for the next 20 years of operations). The construction has already started and is due for completion in 2011. A second phase to bring total capacity up to 330 MW is planned following on from this initial phase.


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