Blackstone JV completes 288 MW offshore wind farm in Germany

Last week the Blackstone Group announced it had completed construction of Germany’s first privately-financed offshore wind farm, one with the tongue twisting title “Meerwind Süd-Ost”. Loosely translated into English this means, unsurprisingly, though without too much imagination either, “Sea Wind South-East.”

A German incorporated corporate joint-venture, WindMW GmbH, between Blackstone Energy Partners, the Blackstone’s Group’s energy-focused private equity business, and German company Windland Energieerzeugungs GmbH, reported it has completed the ?Meerwind Süd-Ost, a 288 Megawatt offshore wind farm located in the German North Sea.

A total of more than US$1.6 billion (EUR 1.2 billion) has been invested in the project, which is located more than 14 miles (23 kilometers) offshore north of the German Heligoland archipelago.

The final phase of the project was completed last week when WindMW installed its 80th and final offshore turbine and completed the installation of Meerwind’s 3,500-tonne offshore electrical converter substation. The Meerwind project itself began in 2012 and was finished on schedule, in frequently difficult conditions, in less than 18 months.

The new nearly 300 megawatt project will now produce enough clean power to service approximately 360,000 households and can help Germany eliminate approximately one million tons of carbon emissions per year.

Meerwind is the first German offshore wind project to be fully financed by private investors. It is also the largest German offshore wind farm yet to achieve a full financial closing. Meerwind is also the first to close under Germany’s renewable energy financing program, which is focused on helping Germany meet its renewable energy targets by providing debt financing to such greenfield energy projects.

Sean Klimczak, Senior Managing Director at Blackstone said: “We are very pleased to have reached this important project milestone, bringing Germany one step closer to meeting its green energy targets. Together with our partners, we would like to thank our suppliers and their hard-working teams for their efforts to make our project vision a reality.”

Thus far a number of offshore German wind projects have suffered serious delays, both in construction itself and in the provision of the necessary massive power grid extensions to bring the power they can generate ultimately back to the populated areas which can use it.

Jens Assheuer, who is the CEO of WindMW said, “I would like to thank the project’s investors, staff, suppliers and other stakeholders for their significant commitment and support. The completion of the project on schedule and at the highest quality standards is a result of the contributions of all parties involved.”

Blackstone Energy Partners is Blackstone’s energy-focused private equity business, with a successful record built on Blackstone’s industry expertise and partnerships with exceptional management teams.

Since its founding in 2012, Blackstone Energy Partners has invested more than US$6.6 billion of equity across 18 transactions globally, which range from oil and gas to renewables, natural resources, and power generation.

Blackstone was founded by Stephen A. Schwarzman and Peter G. Peterson, who had been colleagues at Lehman Brothers. In 1985 Schwarzman and Peterson left Lehman, going into partnership to form the Blackstone Company which initially focused on brokering large-scale mergers and acquisitions, before moving into property ownership and investment management.

Today Blackstone is one of the world’s leading private equity investment and advisory firms. Blackstone’s alternative asset management businesses include the management of corporate private equity funds, real estate funds, hedge fund solutions, credit-oriented funds and closed-end mutual funds.

Blackstone also provides various financial advisory services, including financial and strategic advisory, restructuring and reorganization advisory and fund placement services. Through its different investment businesses, as of December 31st, 2013, Blackstone had assets under management of approximately US$265 billion.