GE Renewable Energy and Green Investment Group Limited, part of Macquarie Group, have partnered to deliver and operate 650MW of onshore wind through the Markbygden ETT wind farm in the Northern Swedish city of Piteå, close to the Arctic Circle. The project will be the largest single site onshore wind farm in Europe, increasing Sweden's installed wind generation by more than 12.5 percent. The equity partners raised approximately €800 million ($926 million) in financing and have begun construction of the project, which is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2019.
The European Investment Bank signed a €180 million ($209 million) financing agreement to aid in the construction and operation of the wind farm. Of the EIB financing €100 million ($116 million) are backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe.
GE Renewable Energy will supply 179 of its 3.6 MW turbines with 137 meter rotors, a turbine ideally suited for the project site's wind speeds and climate. The turbine blades will be equipped with an innovative ice mitigation system by LM Wind Power, ensuring a stable level of availability and reduced downtime. GE is also providing a 20-year Full Service Agreement, and through its Grid Solutions business, will provide the high voltage switchgear for two collector substations at the wind farm.
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "Investing in renewable energy by building wind farms helps to access affordable, clean and secure energy. The construction of this ground-breaking wind farm will confirm Sweden's position as one of the most forward-looking, sustainable countries in the EU."
GE Energy Financial Services and Green Investment Group jointly acquired the project from Svevind and invested more than €300 million ($348 million) in equity to finance the wind farm. The transaction is Green Investment Group's first equityinvestment following its acquisition by Macquarie and its first investment outside of the United Kingdom. For GE, it represents GE Capital's strategy to invest in and structure financing solutions in support of GE in key global growth markets.
Pete McCabe, President & CEO of GE's Onshore Wind Business, said, "We are excited to have been chosen by Svevind to contribute to this massive project. Markbygden ETT marks our commitment to the Swedish onshore wind arena and extends our presence in Europe while showcasing our technical capabilities – with LM Wind Power – and project development and management differentiators."
In addition to the financing provided by EIB, the project was financed on a non-recourse project financing basis with debt financing secured from Export Credit Guarantees of the Federal Republic of Germany (Hermes Cover), NordLB (acting as MLA advisor and ECA bank), KfW IPEX-Bank and HSH Nordbank.
GE and Green Investment Group originated and structured a 19-year fixed volume Power Purchase Agreement with a subsidiary of Norsk Hydro, one of the largest aluminum producers in the world. The PPA enables Norsk Hydro to fix the price of a significant portion of the electricity demand for their Norwegian aluminum manufacturing facilities, producing approximately 100,000 tonnes of aluminum per year. The PPA is understood to be the largest corporate wind energy PPA in the world.
Wolfgang Kropp, CEO of Svevind, said, "Having worked on the development of the Markbygden cluster of wind farm projects since 2002, Svevind is very excited to see this partnership with GE Renewables, GE Energy Financial Services, and the Green Investment Group come to fruition. We are pleased to see the success of our hard work demonstrated by the attention the Markbygden ETT project has attracted from world class institutions such as these. We look forward to seeing this project, and future projects around Markbygden, constructed and contributing to the much-needed fight against climate change."