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Asian banks join project financing for UK's Dogger Bank wind farm
Third phase of 3.6GW project reaches financial close with 3 billion pounds in investment
Michael Marray 8 Dec 2021

Asian banks were well-represented in the bank syndicate funding the Dogger Bank Wind Farm C, the third phase of what will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm when completed in March 2026.

Joint venture partners SSE Renewables and Equinor reached financial close on December 2, signing 2.5 billion pounds sterling (US$3.32 billion) worth of senior debt, plus ancillary facilities amounting to 435 million pounds.

Mandated lead arrangers were Bank of China, ICBC, Korea Development Bank, Norinchukin Bank, SMBC, Shinsei Bank, Mizuho, MUFG, Standard Chartered, ABN Amro, Barclays, BBVA, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole CIB, CaixaBank, CIBC, CIC, Danske Bank, Deutsche Bank, DNB Bank, DZ BANK, ING Bank, Lloyds Bank, NatWest, Rabobank, Santander, SEB, and Societe Generale.

Total investment for the 3.6-gigawatt wind farm, located off the northeastern coast of England, will be around 9 billion pounds. Around 3 billion pounds is for phase C,  including offshore transmission capex in the range of 900 million to 1 billion pounds.

Societe Generale was the documentation bank, while MUFG was the intercreditor and commercial facility agent.

Three phases

The transaction featured support from three export credit agencies (ECAs) – Bpifrance Assurance Export, Sweden's EKN, and Export Finance Norway (Eksfin). Santander was ECA agent and facilities agent for the three.

GE Energy Financial Services partnered with the co-sponsors to support insurance cover from Bpifrance. Separate debt facilities structured by the co-sponsors are supported by EKN and Eksfin.

Linklaters represented the borrowers, and Norton Rose Fulbright the lenders.

The majority of lenders are the same as for the financing of Dogger Bank A and B, reached in November 2020. Together, the three phases are the largest offshore wind project financing to date globally.

Dogger Bank C is being project-financed with a gearing of around 70% for the generation assets. Gearing on the transmission facilities is set at 90% of the forecast offshore electricity transmission (Ofto) sale proceeds, in line with standard market practice in the sector.

Operational life

UK-based SSE Renewables is leading the development and construction of the project, while Equinor of Norway will operate the wind farm on completion for its expected operational life of around 35 years.

On November 2 SSE and Equinor announced the selldown of a combined 20% share in Dogger Bank C to Eni of Italy (10% each) for a total consideration of 140 million pounds. The remaining 80% is shared equally by SSE Renewables and Equinor.

Dogger Bank C has a capacity of 1,200 megawatts and will generate around 6 terawatt-hours of electricity annually. In total, Dogger Bank will produce enough clean, renewable electricity to supply 5% of the demand in the United Kingdom, equivalent to powering six million UK homes.

Dogger Bank A and B phases will be the first to feature GE’s Haliade-X 1 MW offshore wind turbines, with a total of 190 to be installed. 

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