Sept 15 (Reuters) - Vineyard Wind, which is on track to be
the first major U.S. offshore wind farm, closed on a $2.3
billion loan and will begin construction in Massachusetts as
soon as this week, the project's developer said on Wednesday.
The senior debt financing allows the project, a joint
venture between Avangrid Inc and Copenhagen
Infrastructure Partners, to mobilize its contractors and
suppliers to begin work, the companies said.
That means manufacturers like General Electric Co,
which is supplying the project's 62 turbines, can start
procuring materials and hiring workers.
The U.S. government approved Vineyard Wind in May, billing
it as the inauguration of a new domestic industry that will help
eliminate emissions from the power sector, a critical pillar in
President Joe Biden's climate change agenda.
Construction will start as soon as tomorrow" on a
Barnstable, Massachusetts substation where undersea cables will
connect to the power grid on shore, Lars Pedersen, chief
executive of Vineyard Wind, said during a conference call with
Offshore work will start next year, and the project is
expected to begin delivering power in 2023.
The project is expected to cost about $3 billion in total,
and its owners expect to raise equity financing at a later stage
that would qualify for a federal clean energy tax credit,
Vineyard Wind will be located 15 miles (24 kilometers) off
the coast of Martha's Vineyard and is intended to create enough
electricity to power 400,000 homes in New England.
Nine banks participated in the $2.3 billion in financing.
They include Bank of America, J.P. Morgan, BBVA, NatWest, Credit
Agricole, Natixis, BNP Paribas and MUFG Bank. The company was
advised by Santander, which also invested in the project.
(Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by David Gregorio and