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EIB lends €1.2 billion for North Sea wind farm
Denmark’s largest project of its kind to deliver 1.1GW of renewable energy
Michael Marray 3 Jul 2024

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is supporting the construction of the 1.1-gigawatt Thor wind farm in the North Sea, via a €1.2 billion (US$1.28 billion) green loan to German energy company RWE.

The loan will co-finance monopile foundations, turbines, inter-array cabling, an offshore converter station, export cables, a section of the onshore cables, and an onshore substation.  The turbines are provided by Siemens Gamesa.  The connection to the Danish national grid is being built by Danish transmission system operator Energinet.

The wind farm will be the largest in Denmark, consisting of 72 wind turbines with a capacity of 15 megawatts each. It is located on the west coast of Jutland, in the Danish part of the North Sea, approximately 22 kilometres from Thorsminde in the municipality of Holstebro.

In April, RWE began work on onshore cable works around the onshore substation south of Lemvig. It is expected to run until the end of October. The ground was broken at the substation in May last year.

The main offshore installation works are scheduled for 2025 and 2026. The wind farm is expected to be fully operational no later than the end of 2027.

Michael Müller, RWE’s chief financial officer, says the loan with attractive terms helps the company in further diversifying its funding sources. "With our Growing Green investment programme, we are investing heavily in renewables. And we are also focusing on circularity,” he says. "That is why we are installing recyclable rotor blades at Thor and are the first developer in the world to pilot new CO2-reduced steel towers that significantly reduce the carbon footprint of wind turbines."

Essen-based RWE is the second biggest developer of offshore wind globally. The company is investing €55 billion in renewables, batteries, flexible generation, and hydrogen projects worldwide from 2024 until 2030.

The North Sea coastal states, the EU Commission, and Luxembourg want to accelerate the construction of wind farms, and have set up the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC), a regional non-binding and voluntary EU cooperation framework which aims to advance the development of offshore renewable energy. Norway and the United Kingdom are also NSEC members.

Together, they want to ensure that wind turbines with a combined output of 120GW are installed in the North Sea by 2030. The target is to increase this to at least 300GW by 2050.

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