Banks Renewables seals £210m investment agreement for three new onshore wind farms

March 2, 2017 | Community News

Members of the Banks Renewables team working on the construction of one of its onshore wind farms

Banks Renewables, the renewable energy division of North East property and energy business the Banks Group, has secured a transformational £210m investment package to support the construction of its next three onshore wind farms.

The Durham-headquartered firm has worked with lenders Macquarie Infrastructure Debt Investment Solutions (MIDIS), Santander, ING, National Australia Bank and Rabobank to secure funding for its planned Moor House wind farm near Darlington in County Durham and the Middle Muir and Kype Muir schemes in South Lanarkshire in Scotland.

The three wind farms were all successful in the UK government’s first competitive Contracts for Difference (CfD) programme for onshore and offshore projects in 2015, since when Banks Renewables has been working towards putting the commercial structures in place to take them forward.

Leading global manufacturer Senvion has been contracted to supply and install the turbines for all three projects, with Kype Muir, Middle Muir and Moor House each comprising 26, 15 and six turbines respectively.

A long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) has been also been signed between Banks Renewables and Dong Energy for the output of all three wind farms.

Balance of Plant contracts have been agreed with Scottish civil engineering contractor R J McLeod for the Kype Muir and Middle Muir construction works, and with County Durham-based Hall Construction for Moor House.

KPMG and law firms Ashurst and Brodies advised Banks Renewables on the deal, while the lenders were advised by Norton Rose Fulbright and Burness Paull.

Preparatory work has already begun on the site at the Moor House wind farm, which will be the ninth onshore wind farm that Banks Renewables has built, and is expected to begin generating clean green energy early in 2018.  Middle Muir is scheduled to go live later that year, while Kype Muir is due to come online at the start of 2019.

Richard Dunkley, managing director at Banks Renewables, says: “This investment package is a real expression of confidence in both Banks Renewables and the wider UK onshore wind sector, and it’s exciting to now be accelerating the process of taking these three wind farms forward.

“The Kype Muir, Middle Muir and Moor House wind farms have all taken many years of challenging development to get to this stage, and being successful in the government’s first ever CfD auction against stiff competition was critical to the projects’ success.

“Onshore wind in general and these projects in particular represent the best value for money to consumers as the government seeks to deliver on its climate change obligations. We believe onshore wind will continue to play a key role in delivering lowest cost carbon free energy for the UK.

“Around 250 jobs will be created through the construction of the three new wind farms, and when complete, they will transform Banks Renewables’ generation capacity from 74 MW to 224 MW.”

Kit Hamilton, head of the investment team at MIDIS said: “We are pleased to have delivered another innovative CPI linked long term debt package for Banks Renewables. We see this as yet another example of MIDIS’ ability to innovate in the institutional debt market.”

Fernando Dominguez de Posada, senior vice president at Santander, adds: “Santander has been working with Banks Renewables for the last nine months developing a suitable long term financing structure to support the construction of the three wind farms and provide financial stability across the operational stage of the projects.

“We are delighted to have supported the Banks Renewables management team acting as the sole Commercial Bank Bookrunner throughout this process and delivering a bespoke funding package that will ultimately help enhance their strategic plan to invest in the UK renewables sector.”

Søren Scherfig, head of trading & portfolio management in DONG Energy, says: “DONG Energy is pleased to enter into a Power Purchase and Balance Services agreement with Banks Renewables, and it has been an excellent process for us to create a framework for these PPAs under the CfD programme

“This agreement is an excellent example of how DONG Energy leverages its capabilities in balancing wind assets from our unique offshore portfolio, in order to provide strong commercial offerings to the benefit of external parties like Banks Renewables.”

Guy Madgwick, managing director of Senvion Northern Europe, says: “The successful conclusion of these three contracts marks a very positive start to 2017 for Senvion in the UK. This also demonstrates the strong fit of Senvion turbines to match the market requirements and wind conditions here.

“We are particularly pleased to be continuing our successful partnership with Banks Renewables, and we look forward to building on this relationships through 2017 and beyond.”

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