SSE Renewables and Equinor have closed financing for the final stage of their Dogger Bank wind farm project off the northeast coast of England, drawing in dozens of lenders and a trio of export credit agencies (ECAs).
In a deal announced this week, the two energy companies have secured around £3bn for Dogger Bank C, comprised of senior debt facilities of roughly £2.5bn and ancillary facilities of £435mm.
The agreement brings together a consortium of 28 banks and three ECAs, many of which were lenders on the £5.5bn debt financing package for the initial two stages of the project, Dogger Bank A and B, completed in November last year.
Société Générale is serving as documentation agent and Barclays as account bank, while MUFG is acting as intercreditor agent, commercial facility agent, security trustee and letter of credit (LC) issuing bank. Lloyds takes on the role of interest rate hedge execution bank, while Santander is the ECA agent and FX hedge execution bank.
Mandated lead arrangers on the commercial facilities include ABN Amro, Barclays, BBVA, BNP Paribas, Bank of China, Crédit Agricole CIB, CaixaBank, CIBC, CIC, Danske Bank, Deutsche Bank, DNB, DZ Bank, ICBC, ING, the Korea Development Bank, Lloyds, Mizuho, MUFG, NatWest, the Norinchukin Bank, Rabobank, Santander, SEB, Shinsei Bank, SMBC, Société Générale, and Standard Chartered.
As with last year’s financing, ECAs from France, Sweden and Norway are backing the third phase of the project. French agency Bpifrance will provide insurance cover for a portion of the ECA debt financing, while separate debt facilities structured by the co-sponsors are supported by the Norwegian and Swedish ECAs, Eksfin and EKN.
GTR understands the financing covered by Bpi will back the export of US multinational GE’s Haliade-X 14MW turbines to the project. Meanwhile, up to £1bn of the funding is earmarked for capital expenditure related to the construction of offshore transmission infrastructure.
“We believe export credit agencies play a significant role globally in driving the energy transition and supporting new technology for large scale, capital-intensive projects, including offshore wind and emerging technologies,” says Susan Flanagan, president and CEO of GE Energy Financial Services.
Jan Kjaersgaard, president and CEO of offshore wind at GE Renewable Energy, adds: “Having this landmark project reach financial close for its third phase is important for the entire industry as it offers tangible proof that projects of this magnitude are viable.”
Construction is slated to be completed on the project by March 2026. According to SSE and Equinor, Dogger Bank will be the world’s largest offshore wind development. It is expected to power up to 6 million homes annually in the UK, equivalent to 5% of the nation’s electricity demand.
SSE is leading the development and construction of the project, while Equinor will take on the day-to-day commercial running of the wind farm, which is expected to have an operational life of around 35 years.