What was the aim of the work?
The project represents the largest single site onshore wind farm in Europe. It is made up of 179 3.6 MW turbines, which were supplied by GE. The equity partners raised approximately €800M in financing and began construction of the project in 2018 construction started in 2018.
Natural Power completed technical due diligence to support the acquisition and debt financing of the 650 MW Markbygden ETT onshore wind farm. We also provided technical advisory services to the lenders during the construction phase, and we continue to do this during the wind farm’s operation. This was to ensure the lenders to the project had sufficient independent technical support to understand and manage the technical risks – namely time, cost and quality – associated with the construction of the wind farm and the first years of operation. We also fulfilled the technical advisor function within the financial agreement between the project sponsor and the lenders to certify the construction budget utilisation and confirm completion of the key milestones of the project.
What was the outcome?
Natural Power performed an independent and detailed energy yield analysis that provided high quality assurance to the investors. Such assurance also played a role in the corporate PPA agreed between the project and Norsk Hydro for their aluminium manufacturing operations. This was one of the largest PPA deals reached between a corporate offtaker and wind farm anywhere in the world.
Markbygden ETT has several features that make it a technically exciting project. This includes using turbine technology that was an evolution of earlier platforms, with large rotor diameters and hub height, and the challenges of dealing with near Arctic conditions during construction and operation. This contributed to the contractors constructing the wind farm having to deal with large volumes of snow, the thaw season and hot, dry summers with the threat of forest wildfires. We helped our clients understand the key risks associated with working on a project of this scale and how to manage this. We also reviewed the details of the turbine ice mitigation systems, the impact this was likely to have on project yield, and on how contractual warranties around the system would protect the project.
Through our work as LTA, the lenders have received technical guidance that has allowed them to make decisions on the project risk profile. Our advice allowed them to make informed decisions on contractual and commercial variations during the construction.
What did Natural Power do to get this result?
In support of the transaction, Natural Power provided extensive due diligence services, including independent energy yield analysis and a review of contracts, wind turbine technology, the project construction schedule, site design, planning consents including environmental restrictions and the project financial model.
For the construction phase, we provided construction monitoring services on behalf of the lender consortium. This involved regular site visits, reviewing the progress of the project based on the visits and owner’s engineers’ reports and assessing project spend versus budget.
We also used our knowledge of the project, the stakeholders and the risks to support the lenders through the construction phase of the project. We split our role between frequently visiting the site to monitor progress and inspect quality; attending contractor meetings; and providing office-based support with bi-monthly reporting, project finance drawdown certification and technical advice on contract variations.
A project manager developed the scope of work and focused on the relationships with the key project stakeholders to implement a working methodology. The project also allowed Natural Power to draw from its wide in-house expertise to meet all the technical requirements and provide the relevant advice when the lender had any questions.
The largest single site onshore wind farm in Europe.
179 3.6 MW
The site has 179 3.6 MW turbines.
The equity partners raised approximately €800M.