BOSTON Feb 26 Cape Wind said on Wednesday it
has secured $600 million in financing for its proposed $2.5
billion wind power farm off the Massachusetts coast, and expects
to have the rest locked up by the end of the third quarter.
Danish state-owned export credit agency EKF approved the
loan pending due diligence, Cape Wind President Jim Gordon said
at a power industry conference in Boston. EKF is the project's
biggest financial commitment to date.
"EKF is a very knowledgeable and experienced investor in the
offshore wind industry and they recognize that Cape Wind makes
sense both economically and environmentally," Gordon
said. "Moving Cape Wind forward will help further diversify New
England's electric generation portfolio."
The project would have the capacity to produce 468 megawatts
of electricity, enough to power nearly a half-million homes.
Cape Wind is among a handful of proposed offshore wind farms
in the United States but is seen as more advanced in the process
of getting government permits. Other proposed projects include
wind farms off Rhode Island, Delaware, and in the Gulf of
Cape Wind has been fighting for more than a decade to build
America's first offshore wind farm, on a site between Cape Cod,
Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, but has been stalled by fierce
legal challenges and government permit hurdles.
Opponents claim the project's 130 turbines would be an
eyesore, hurt summer tourism, and pose environmental threats, by
injuring migratory birds or causing pollution from leaks in the
installations. Supporters argue the wind farms will provide
clean, renewable power to help meet rising demand.
The loan agreement was "a significant step forward both
because of the size of the funding commitment and because it
provides a signal to other financial stakeholders," said Cape
Wind spokesman Mark Rodgers.
The company expects to complete project financing in the
third quarter of this year, Rodgers said, adding that
construction would begin shortly after, with initial power
production starting as early as 2016.
The financing follows conditional commitments of $200
million from the Danish Pension Fund, $100 million from
technology and engineering company Siemens AG, and an
undisclosed sum through the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Rodgers
Those commitments are conditional on the entire financing
package coming together, he said.
In December, Cape Wind announced a contract to supply
Siemens with 3.6 megawatt turbines, an offshore platform, and a
service agreement for the first 15 years of commercial