Offshore wind project in Germany secures financing

New York-based Blackstone Group LP secured financing for its 1.2 billion-euro ($1.7 billion) 288 MW wind farm in the German North Sea.

The Meerwind project southwest of Helgoland will be one of Germany's largest offshore wind-energy plants. Blackstone also bought a license for a second offshore wind project expected to cost 1.3 billion euros and said in press reports it may buy more permits.

Meerwind project funding was granted by a group of seven commercial banks and two state-owned lenders. The banks include Germany's Commerzbank AG, Banco Santander SA of Spain and Lloyds Banking Group Plc together with Denmark's export credit agency EKF and German development bank KfW.

Germany's government is pushing development of offshore wind to make up for lost capacity as the country plans to shut down its nuclear reactors by 2022. Chancellor Angela Merkel's government has raised subsidies for offshore wind farms as part of a plan to install 10,000 MW of turbines by the end of the decade, up from about 210 MW now.

Construction will start Sept. 1, 2012, and is due to be completed in 2013.

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