Financial close for Belgian windfarm

With a blade tip height of 193 metres, the Seamade  turbines will be the largest in the Belgian North Sea With a blade tip height of 193 metres, the Seamade turbines will be the largest in the Belgian North Sea
Industry Database

Following completion of the Rentel wind farm SeaMade has reached financial close for its 487MW Offshore wind farm in the Belgian North Sea.

SeaMade NV is responsible for the simultaneous development of both the Mermaid and Seastar offshore wind farms, resulting in the single largest wind farm financed and built in Belgium. SeaMade is a partnership between Otary, ENGIE Electrabel and Eneco Wind Belgium.

Financial close has been reached on schedule, only two years after Financial close of the Rentel offshore wind project. The latter successfully completed its construction activities last summer, while SeaMade will start its construction activities in summer 2019.

The SeaMade project attracted a very high level of interest and commitment from both the offshore wind industry and the financing community. SeaMade is financed by a unique group of public and private equity investors, while commercial lenders, multilateral institutions and export credit agencies provide non-recourse debt financing.

SeaMade will build 58 wind turbines with a total capacity of 487MW and will be connected through two offshore substations to the Elia Modular Offshore Grid.

SeaMade is developing the last two domain concessions which were made available for offshore wind projects by the Belgian government to contribute to its 20/20/20 climate change targets.

The SeaMade project is the second project successfully developed and financed by Otary RS NV. SeaMade stands for a combination of two offshore wind projects, previously known as Mermaid (235MW) and Seastar (252MW).

Otary RS NV has the majority interest in the SeaMade Project.  Otary’s shareholders include investment and development companies Green Offshore and Power @ Sea, dredging and marine engineering specialist DEME and green energy actors Aspiravi and Elicio. The Walloon environmental holding SRIW Environnement, as well as the Flemish and Walloon energy and utility holding companies Z-Kracht/Nuhma and Socofe are also Otary shareholders.

The project is financed by an international lending consortium consisting of the European Investment Bank, the Danish export credit agency EKF and 15 commercial banks.

The 58 offshore wind turbines will be installed and maintained by Siemens Gamesa. With a blade tip height of 193 metres, they will be the largest wind turbines installed thus far in the Belgian North Sea, in terms of dimensions. This turbine model has a base capacity of 8MW with a power boost function bringing capacity to 8.4MW.

Substations - Each of the Project’s two wind farms, Mermaid and Seastar, will have its own offshore substation, which will collect electricity produced, convert it from 33kV to 220kV and export it into the Offshore Grid operated by Elia System Operator NV, the Transmission System Operator. Capitalizing on a successful collaboration on numerous previous offshore wind farms, ENGIE Fabricom, Tractebel, Smulders and Geosea will be responsible for the full EPCI of the substations, including engineering, procurement, construction, transport, installation and commissioning.

Export Cable – Both wind farms will be connected through two 220-245 kV XLPE 800mm² Aluminum submarine high voltage cables to the Belgian Modular Offshore Grid. The so-called export cables have a combined length of around 28km, and a cable diameter of around 247mm weighing approximately 96.4kg per running metre. Production will be performed by Hellenic Cables in Greece and installation will be done by Tideway in 2020.

The Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Installation contract of the foundations and inter-array cables will be undertaken by Dredging International NV, subsidiary of Dredging, Environmental & Marine Engineering NV, a leading player in this market. The 33kV AC IACs will connect each WTG to the relevant offshore substation in looped strings. The WTGs will be mounted on a foundation structure, consisting of a monopile foundation on top of which a bolted transition piece is placed.

Ostend – The SeaMade projects are located 40-50 km off the coast from Ostend and will be operated and serviced from the Otary logistical hub in the port of Ostend.

The development of an offshore wave project will now be assumed by the newly incorporated entity North Sea Wave NV, which mirrors the shareholding structure of SeaMade NV. The development of wave energy convertors has not yet come to technical and financial maturity but will be closely scrutinized by North Sea Wave. The development of a wave project will depend on the technical and commercial maturity, but also financial and economic feasibility, possibly within a broader regulatory context.

By Jake Frith

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