The Block Island Wind Farm is the first offshore wind project in the nation to be fully financed. Deepwater Wind Block Island, a wholly owned subsidiary of Deepwater Wind, closed on approximately $290 million in project financing Wednesday, the company announced. Deepwater Wind now has all of the debt and equity funding in place to construct and operate the 30-megawatt, five-turbine wind farm off the coast of Block Island.
“We are on the cusp of bringing offshore wind from theory to reality in the U.S. We’re incredibly proud of our position at the forefront of the U.S. offshore wind industry,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski, in a statement. “We’ve brought together some of the best American and European expertise to build an outstanding project and finance team. We’re poised to launch a new American clean-tech industry, and it all starts here with our work on the Block Island Wind Farm.”
Deepwater Wind received its final federal and state permits late last year.
In January, Grybowski told the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers the company had begun construction on the turbine foundations, transmission cable and wind turbine generators. Additional fabrication work on the foundation components will begin at North Kingstown-based Specialty Diving Services in the coming weeks. All 15 blades for the five turbines have been built and are being supplied by Alstom, a Denmark-based company. In January, Gulf Island Fabrication, of Louisiana, began fabrication of the steel jacket foundations. That work is expected to take several months. The five foundations will be installed between July and October, and the wind farm is expected to be in service by the fourth quarter of 2016.
Deepwater Wind also is seeking applications from commercial fishermen seeking mitigation for “direct financial impacts associated with the closure of the permitted work area during construction only,” according to a legal notice published in Independent Newspapers Feb. 19. “Applications must be submitted by April 14 and are available at dwwind.com/block-island, or by contacting Aileen Kenney at Deepwater Wind, 648-0607 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Hard copies of the applications are also available at the offices of the state Coastal Resources Management Council, 4808 Tower Hill Road, Wakefield; the state Division of Fish and Wildlife, Marine Fisheries, 3 Fort Wetherill Road, Jamestown; or the state Division of Coastal Resources, 301 Great Island Road, Narragansett.
Fishing will not be restricted in the wind farm site during normal operations of the turbines, the notice said.
Mandated Lead Arrangers Societe Generale of Paris, France, and KeyBank National Association of Cleveland, Ohio, provided the $290 million in funding. The company also has $70 million in equity funding from its owners, D.E. Shaw Group.
“We’re ecstatic to reach financial close and thrilled to be partners with Societe Generale and KeyBank for this groundbreaking clean energy project,” Grybowski said. “We’re full speed ahead and moving ever closer to ‘steel in the water.’”
“Deepwater Wind has assembled a world class management team and experienced contractors to develop this landmark project. As the first offshore wind farm to be developed in the U.S., the Block Island Wind Farm represents a milestone that expands SG’s offshore wind sector footprint outside of Europe and further strengthens our extensive global track record of advising clients and arranging debt for offshore wind projects,” said Alexander Krolick, Societe Generale’s director of energy project finance in the Americas.
“Deepwater Wind has long been at the forefront of offshore wind development,” said Andrew Redinger, managing director and head of KeyBanc Capital Markets Utilities, Power and Renewables Group. “We are pleased to provide financing for the first offshore wind project to be fully financed in the U.S., and look forward to working with Deepwater on future, transformative projects.”
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