Friday, August 5, 2011
Blackstone private equity to invest 2.5 billion EUR to develop German offshore wind farms
In a surprising move, Blackstone Group LP, one of the largest private equity firms in the world, announced that the firm plans to invest 2.5 billion EUR into the construction of one of Germany’s biggest offshore wind farms. This move is unusual as private equity investors tend to invest in wind farms that have been commissioned or are close to completion rather than wind farms yet to be built. The investment by Blackstone is one of the largest moves into renewable energy by a global buy-out group. This move by Blackstone could open up other private equity financing opportunities for developers with early-stage projects. The 80 turbine 288 MW offshore “Meerwind” project in the North Sea is set to produce enough power to service 400,000 households. Blackstone will also invest in a second offshore project consisting of 64 wind turbines for which it has already acquired a permit. Siemens AG is providing the 80 wind turbines for the Meerwind project. WindMW, the project developer, was established in 2008 as a Blackstone portfolio company to develop German offshore wind farms. The Meerwind concession area is 50 km off the coast of Germany, Northwest of Helgoland. WindMW was advised by Green Giraffe Energy Bankers, KfW-IPEX and Dexia (financing), Gleiss Lutz (legal), NWA (insurance) and Ernst & Young (tax).