EIB finances first offshore wind farm in Germany

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing a EUR 80 million loan to finance the construction and operation of Germany’s first commercial offshore windfarm. The EIB and the promoter of the project, Energie Baden-Württemberg AG (EnBW), signed the finance contract in Karlsruhe today.

The new EnBW Baltic 1 offshore wind farm is located in Germany’s 12-mile territorial waters off the coast of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern near the towns of Prerow and Zingst. The wind energy project involved the construction of 21 wind turbines with a unit capacity of 2.3 MW.

With a total capacity of 48.3 MW, the wind farm will have a net annual output of around 185 GWh that will feed into the public grid. The project also included the construction of an offshore transformer station, which connects EnBW Baltic 1 to the shore via a sub-sea high voltage transmission cable. The project was completed in 2010 and is currently being brought into operation.

Dr Matthias Kollatz-Ahnen, EIB Vice-President responsible for lending operations in Germany, described this as a pioneering project for German offshore wind power: “Germany’s ambitious renewable energy goals are in line with the EU’s joint efforts. The European Investment Bank is taking the climate action agenda forward with determination. Last year alone, it devoted a record 30% of its overall lending to climate action projects. The offshore sector is highly important in this as it offers substantial scope for the expansion of capacity.”

Germany wishes to increase the share of renewables in its energy mix to at least 30% by 2020. To achieve this goal, it is banking heavily on the growth of offshore wind power. This year is set to see offshore capacity increase to 300 MW.

Offshore wind power projects are extremely technically demanding and take a long time to implement, sometimes resulting in substantial financing needs. Alongside the financing commitment signed by the EIB today, the involvement of other financing institutions in the EnBW Baltic 1 project is envisaged.

In addition to EnBW Baltic 1, the EIB is planning to finance other offshore wind farms. The EIB is the European Union’s bank. Its purpose is to promote the EU’s objectives by providing long-term loans for viable projects.