European Investment Bank to fund world’s largest operational offshore wind farm

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The European Investment Bank has agreed to provide GBP150m of long-term funding to Vattenfall for the Thanet Offshore Wind Farm.

With 100 wind turbines, each 115m tall, and a generating capacity of 300MW this is the largest offshore wind farm operating anywhere in the world. The wind farm, inaugurated in September 2010, is an important step in enabling the United Kingdom to achieve renewable energy targets and generating 15% of energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.

“The Thanet Offshore wind farm demonstrates how offshore wind can achieve economies of scale and make a significant contribution to renewable energy supply. The European Investment Bank is committed to supporting expansion of the offshore sector to increase experience and drive commercialisation of cutting edge technology.” said Simon Brooks, European Investment Bank Vice President for the United Kingdom.

“We are proud to have built the world’s largest offshore wind farm, and we are very pleased with European Investment Bank long-term funding support at attractive terms and conditions, providing an alternative to bond markets.” says Johan Gyllenhoff, Group Treasurer of Vattenfall.

Located 12km off Foreness Point, the eastern most part of Kent the entire Thanet wind farm covers 35 square kilometres. Thanet produces enough electricity to supply more than 200,000 homes with clean electricity. European Investment Bank support for the project has been dependent on fulfilment of comprehensive environmental assessments, including evaluation of the project’s potential impact on marine and birdlife.

The European Investment Bank is also expected to fund a transmission link connecting the Thanet wind farm to the national grid.

The European Investment Bank has provided key funding for development of offshore wind farms since 2002. Five large scale wind farms funded by the EIB are now operational, representing nearly 40% of the global installed capacity. Other projects supported by the EIB in UK waters include the world’s largest planned wind farm London Array.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>· <!–[endif]–>The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. It has been active in the UK since 1973, supporting investment ranging from motorways and rail, to water supply and treatment, energy schemes, hospitals, universities, high-tech development in industry, as well as small and medium-sized businesses. In the last five years (2006-2010) it channelled over £17 billion into projects in the UK, including £4 billion in 2010.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>· <!–[endif]–>Vattenfall is one of Europe’s largest generators of electricity and the largest producer of heat. Vattenfall’s main products are electricity, heat and gas. Vattenfall is also engaged in energy trading and lignite mining. The Group has slightly more than 38,000 employees. The Parent Company, Vattenfall AB, is 100%-owned by the Swedish state. The core markets are Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands. The UK is an important growth market due to Vattenfall’s strong position in offshore wind power in the UK


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