A 50 per cent stake in a giant offshore wind farm built off the coast of Yorkshire has been sold to a pair of French investors for 3 billion.
Axa, the insurance group and Credit Agricole, the bank’s investment arm, bought half of the Hornsea Two project from the Danish company Orsted, the world’s largest offshore wind developer.
Analysts at Bernstein say the price paid by Axa and Crédit Agricole is about one-third more than the price of Hornsea Two, which they thought was worth it. They added that this “proves that foreign investors are willing to pay a price on such assets” as the world embarks on a journey of change in how energy is generated.
Hornsy Two, located about 50 miles off the coast of Yorkshire in the North Sea, is 160 square miles wide. It is still being built but with the launch this year, it will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world at this time, a title currently held by Hornsea One.
Once completed, Hornsea Two’s 165 turbines will have a capacity of 1.3 gigawatts, enough to produce 1.3 million homes a year – or the equivalent of all homes in Greater Manchester.
The UK government is aiming for 40 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, and Orsted believes that Hornsy II will be a “core project” if that goal is achieved.
The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year, after which Axa Investment Management and Credit Agricole will own 25 percent of each project.
Orsted, which will run and maintain the wind farm for at least the first 20 years, will hold another 50 percent stake in the project.
“Our investment strategy is decarbonization, electrification and digitization,” said Mark Giligan, head of infrastructure equity at AXA IM Alts.
Credit Agricole Assurance had previously committed to doubling its investment in renewable energy by 2025 and had purchased a large chunk of Hornsy II “completely”. [its] Climate commitment, ”said Philip Dumont, its chief executive.
Orstad was formerly known as Dong Energy and began life as Denmark’s state oil and natural gas company before switching to offshore wind development. It has since installed more than a quarter of the world’s offshore wind power and owns or co-owns 12 offshore wind farms in UK waters. About 50.1 percent of the company is owned by the Danish government.