SSE Renewables and Equinor have closed two export credit agency (ECA) backed senior debt facilities totalling £5.5bn for phases A and B of their joint Dogger Bank wind farm project off the north-east coast of England.

The financing will cover the export of 190 of GE’s Haliade-X wind turbines to the project, as well as capital expenditure for the offshore transmission station, which comes to around £800mn per phase.

The debt package brings together a consortium of 29 banks and three ECAs. BNP Paribas acted as lead arranger, while Lloyds, NatWest, Société Générale and Santander were the hedge execution banks. Société Générale joined as documentation bank, and MUFG as intercreditor agent and security trustee. Santander came in as ECA agent, while Barclays acted as account bank.

On the basis of underlying export contracts awarded to GE Renewable Energy, Bpifrance insured a portion of the ECA debt financing – the first insurance cover from the French export credit provider for an offshore wind farm project. Separate debt facilities structured by the project co-sponsors are supported by the Norwegian and Swedish ECAs, GIEK and EKN.

“Sourcing financing from the private and public sectors to enable GE’s flagship 13MW Haliade-X offshore wind farm technology in the UK demonstrates increasing appetite by developers and investors to build and fund renewable energy infrastructure projects,” says Susan Flanagan, president and CEO of GE Energy Financial Services. “As more mega-offshore wind projects come to market, we are seeing sponsors tap into export credit agencies to support the debt requirements of these capital-intensive projects and attract the needed capital to bring such projects online. In the UK and across Europe, strong renewables buildout is expected to continue and offshore is seen as a transformative energy source that will have a major impact on the pace of the energy transition.”

Dogger Bank wind farm is being built in three 1.2GW phases. The first two phases are being constructed at the same time and financed concurrently, with all lenders participating in each phase in equal proportions. The third phase, Dogger Bank C, is being developed on a different timescale with financial close to follow at a later stage. SSE Renewables will lead the development and construction phases of the wind farm, while Equinor will lead on operations once completed.

The project is expected to reach full commercial operations in 2026. On completion, it is expected to power up to 6 million homes annually in the UK, equivalent to 5% of the nation’s electricity demand.