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Jun 13, 2023 12:02 EEST
June 13 (SeeNews) - Bulgarian renewables developer WPP Gorichane has secured an investment of some 120 million euro ($129.7 million) in the construction of Gorichane and Prolez, two grid-connected wind projects of 80 MW total capacity in northeastern Bulgaria, with the cost of energy storage systems excluded from that amount, a senior company official said.
Last month, WPP Gorichane completed the sale of Gorichane and Prolez to Finnish renewable energy investor Taaleri Energia, which will fund the construction and operate the wind farms. The transaction, for an undisclosed amount, comprised the sale to Taaleri of 100% of the project special purpose vehicle (SPV) under a conditional share purchase agreement. Funding of the remaining development costs was also secured under the transaction. Part of the deal includes a development contract with the project SPV under which WPP Gorichane is to bring the wind farms to the ready-to-build stage and further support them until the start of operations.
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“The turbines themselves will be worth a little more than 90 million euro. We are in the early stages of planning an add-on project for energy storage,” Ken Lefkowitz, co-manager of WPP Gorichane which will arrange all the project permits, told SeeNews in an interview last week.
He added that the project is a significant step forward in Bulgaria’s green transition, as the two wind farms have an estimated annual power production of 270 GWh, enough to power 26,000 households. “This equals approximately 45% of Bulgaria’s projected increase in wind power production from 2020-2030 under the 2019 National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP),” Lefkowitz noted.
According to the project co-developer, Gorichane and Prolez wind farms will be the first in Bulgaria to deploy next-generation wind turbines, each with a nameplate capacity that can reach 8 MW depending on technology development at the time of final selection.
As Taaleri Energia’s local development partner, WPP Gorichane will work on re-permitting the two wind farms for next-generation turbines by the first quarter of 2025. After that, it will provide assistance as required until commissioning, which is at present estimated for 2027. On completion, the asset owner will be the third-largest wind power operator in the country, according to an earlier statement.
The Finnish company will arrange the equity and debt financing for the project, bringing its “best practice” knowledge and experience as the largest wind farm operator in Finland to the construction and operational phases of the Bulgarian project, Lefkowitz explained.
Gorichane and Prolez are located close to the northern Black Sea coastal town of Shabla and are in advanced stages of development. Property rights have been secured for installing up to 14 turbines along with a substation. The project already has rights of way for infrastructure, secured grid connection, and an established wind resource.
Prolez is currently subject to an ongoing environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) process. Gorichane has a construction permit for second-generation turbines. WPP Gorichane intends to submit this month a revised investment proposal for next-generation turbine technology and to work with Bulgarian authorities to clarify the further re-permitting steps required, in particular when it comes to environmental approval, Lefkowitz said.
“In view of the increased hub height for next-generation turbines, we plan to prove up the wind resource at height by carrying out a new wind measurement campaign to supplement the existing data and reports available for the project,” he added.
WPP Gorichane is a joint venture between co-developers Ken Lefkowitz, former president of the Bulgarian Wind Energy Association, and Stanislav Gochev, an experienced wind power developer and operator.
Based in Helsinki, Taaleri Energia is an investor, developer and manager of wind and solar generation assets. It has a portfolio of 9.1 GW of wind, solar and battery storage assets in Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East, according to the Finnish fund manager. Taaleri Energia is in the process of raising its third flagship fund, the Taaleri SolarWind III Fund, with a hard cap set at 900 million euro and capital to be deployed for grid-scale projects in the Nordics and Baltics, Poland and Southeast Europe, Spain, and Texas.
($ = 0.9255 euro)
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