Ørsted, developers of Hornsea 2, the North Sea wind farm set to be the world’s biggest when commissioned later this year, today welcomed new equity partners.

For a total of £ 3 billion, the Danes are selling two 25% chunks of the project to AXA IM Alts and to Crédit Agricole Assurances, the firm told investors today.   Ørsted put together financing arrangements underwritten by 30 banks and Denmark’s export credit agency to get the deal away.

Covering 462 square kilometres starting 89 km out from Horseshoe Point south of Hull, Hornsea 2 is one of the world’s largest offshore wind development areas.  Its 1.3 GW capacity can meet the annual needs of 1.3 million homes.

The Danish pioneers saw the first of Hornsea 2’s 165 turbines from Siemens Gamesa erected in 2019.  Served by the world’s biggest offshore wind base in Grimsby and by helicopters from Humberside Airport, Ørsted foresees late 2022 for full commissioning of the project.

Hornsea 2 will then leapfrog its little sister, the 1.2 GW Hornsea 1, as the world’s largest wind park. The developers say Hornsea 2’s original £ 140/ MWh strike price, subsequently risen to £ 164.96/ MWh, is the world’s lowest for offshore wind.

Ørsted will provide AXA and Credit Agricole with balancing services and a route to market for their clients with Hornsea 2’s output.

Duncan Clark, the Danes’ head of UK operations, said: ‘We’re very much looking forward to working with our new partners.

“Ørsted has invested more than GBP 14 billion in the UK to date”, Clark noted. “When Hornsea 2 becomes fully operational later this year, our wind farms will be supplying over 7 % of Britain’s electricity.

“We’re now focused on helping the UK deliver on its 40 GW and Sector Deal target for offshore wind by 2030, a significant milestone in the energy transition that will deliver more than GBP 60 billion of investment for the UK while supporting the UK’s world-class offshore wind supply chain and more than 40,000 jobs over the next few years.’

Mark Gilligan, head of infrastructure equity at AXA IM Alts, added:  “Hornsea 2 allows us to play an important role in decarbonising and electrifying the United Kingdom.

“This landmark transaction aligns with our aim of acquiring, for our clients, utility-scale low-carbon essential businesses and being a long-term partner of choice for outstanding operators like Ørsted.’

Hornsea 1 had the last of its 174 turbines installed in October 2019.  Hornsea 3 was consented in December 2020.   Hornsea 4 is still at the pre-application phase.


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