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EIB lends €600 million for North Sea offshore wind farm
The 900MW He Dreiht project is set to start commercial operations in late 2025
Michael Marray 12 Apr 2023

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is supporting the construction of a 900-megawatt offshore wind farm in the North Sea, Germany, with a €600 million (US$654.7 million) loan to the German utility Energie Baden-Württemberg (EnBW). The overall cost of the project will be €2.4 billion. 

The He Dreiht project is located in a dedicated zone for offshore wind development in the German exclusive economic zone of the North Sea. It comprises a fixed-bottom offshore wind farm comprising 64 wind turbines with 15MW unit capacity, monopile foundations and inter-array cabling.

Construction is expected to be completed in two years and nine months, with installation works scheduled from April to August 2024, and turbine and cable installation from April to August 2025. The grid connection date is scheduled for December 2025, with commercial operations starting in late 2025.

EnBW’s suppliers for the project include turbine manufacturer Vestas;  Steelwind Nordenham, which will supply the monopiles; and Sif/Smulders, which will provide the transition pieces. Heerema and Seaway will lay the foundations in the seabed and inter-array cables respectively.

According to the EIB, all the suppliers have a strong track record of delivering large-scale projects in the offshore wind sector. The project structure is underpinned by long-term power purchase agreements signed with corporate offtakers including Fraport (the operating company of Frankfurt Airport), Evonik, Salzgitter and Bosch.

The grid connection, comprising an offshore converter station as well as two HVDC export cables at a distance of over 120 kilometres subsea and 110 kilometres onshore, is implemented by the responsible transmission system operator outside the scope of the EIB financing.

The offshore wind farm will primarily reduce carbon and air pollution emissions, which are externalities the market fails to address. Moreover, the project should foster the integration of new, variable renewable generation technologies in the market. The EIB financing thus fills a market gap in the development of new renewable capacity. That would include a financing gap for projects that try to develop new capacity with more market-exposed structures and instruments.

Allianz Capital Partners recently signed an agreement in a consortium with Norges Bank Investment Management and AIP Management to acquire a 49.9% stake in He Dreiht from EnBW. Allianz will hold a 16.6% stake. As majority shareholder, EnBW will develop and operate He Dreiht and will offtake the power generated. 

"Allianz is keen to support energy transition which is underlined by our first direct investment into offshore wind in Germany," says Allianz Group’s chief investment officer Carsten Quitter. "He Dreiht shall supply around 1.1 million households in Germany with green and safe energy while delivering stable and long-term cash yields for our insurance customers."

Allianz is invested in over 100 wind and solar farms globally. He Dreiht is its second offshore wind farm investment. In 2022, Allianz acquired a stake in the Hollandse Kust Zuid offshore wind farm in the Netherlands.

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