Amid Federal Spat, U.S. Wind Farm to Seek Financing

Source: By Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2019

The offshore wind-power project that became the subject of a Twitter war between federal energy regulators is moving forward with a debt financing for an estimated $2.15 billion phase, despite being shut out of part of a power auction, according to people familiar with the situation.

Vineyard Wind, a joint venture of Avangrid Inc. and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners K/S, is looking to arrange financing by October, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The developers reached out to lenders this week to gauge interest, they said, and the structure of the financing may change.

Vineyard Wind didn’t immediate comment on the financing.

The timing for obtaining debt may signal that Avangrid and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners are prepared to move forward with what would become the nation’s first major offshore wind farm despite a fight at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission over the project’s participation in regional power markets. The agency failed to take up a request by Vineyard Wind in time for it to bid in an auction held last week, potentially depriving it of a premium price that renewable energy resources command over fossil fuel-fired plants.

A tussle between members of the energy commission erupted on Twitter last week over the project when Democratic member Richard Glick criticized his Republican colleagues for failing to take action, and was in turn chastised by Republican Chairman Neil Chatterjee for airing the agency’s dirty laundry in public.

Vineyard Wind is now calling on the energy commission to overturn the results of the power auction and rerun it so the venture can participate. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey waded into the spat on Wednesday, saying the agency’s failure to act on the offshore wind developer’s request skewed the results of the regional power auction and will result in customers paying tens of millions of dollars more for power.

“The idea that FERC would nullify the results would be extremely surprising,” Amy Grace, a New York-based analyst at BloombergNEF, said in an interview Wednesday.

— With assistance by Naureen S Malik