UK green investment bank buys wind farm stakes from DONG, RWE

LONDON, March 31 Mon Mar 31, 2014 4:48am EDT

LONDON, March 31 (Reuters) - Britain's government-funded bank investing in green energy projects has acquired stakes in two offshore wind farms owned by Denmark's Dong Energy and Germany's RWE Innogy, respectively, for nearly 500 million pounds ($830 million).

The UK Green Investment Bank (GIB), working with 3.8 billion-pound in capital provided by the government, has purchased a 50 percent stake jointly with Japan's Marubeni in DONG Energy's planned Westermost Rough offshore wind farm off the east cost of England.

The partners acquired the stake for 500 million pounds, of which the UK state-funded bank is providing 241 million, the GIB said in a statement.

The bank also announced a 10 percent stake purchase in RWE Innogy's Gwynt y Mor project, the largest offshore wind farm under construction in Europe, for 220 million pounds.

The GIB said DONG Energy and RWE's proceeds from the sales would be re-invested in Britain's renewable energy market.

Britain's business minister Vince Cable said the bank had now invested more than 600 million pounds in five offshore wind farms.

The bank's participation is a shot in the arm to Britain's offshore wind sector which has seen a series of project cancellations over the past months. Last week, British utility SSE announced it was shelving two planned offshore wind projects and reduce its stake in a third to cut costs.

Britain, which is the world's largest offshore wind market, is counting on the development of other wind farms to help it cut carbon emissions in the electricity sector. Turbine installations could reach 3,000 by the end of the decade, compared with 1,075 turbines now. Some 2.5 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity has gone through planning and could be added to the grid in coming years.

($1 = 0.6011 British Pounds) (Reporting by Karolin Schaps. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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