Dutch 600MW offshore project still on course, insists Typhoon

Typhoon Capital’s Gemini project remains on schedule, according to a spokesman, despite Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) confirming that it is not considering an investment.

Typhoon spokesman Marcel van den Berg says there are other potential investors lined up, and adds: “We are not in a hurry.”

“Our aim with Gemini is to bring it together in the best and most responsible manner possible, and that means making sure we have all the right partners.”

“We’re talking to a lot of companies and parties that want to participate on the equity side; we’re talking to banks, we’re talking to component suppliers,” van den Berg tells Recharge.

It’s not necessarily the huge disappointment the press sometimes suggests when one of the parties decides not to participate, he says.

On 10 June Dutch national newspaper De Telegraaf reported that Taqa had been close to snapping up Typhoon’s 85% stake in Gemini. But Taqa quickly distanced itself from the claim, saying that it had no intention to invest in the 600MW project.

Van den Berg insists Typhoon will reach financial close in plenty of time for Gemini to enter construction in July 2013. When the project is commissioned in 2015 it will be one of the largest offshore wind farms in the world.

The Gemini project – two zones of 300MW – was initially developed by struggling German offshore wind group BARD, which hired Typhoon to help structure the financial package.

Typhoon, whose management team arranged financing at the Princess Amalia and Belwind projects, bought out BARD’s stake last year, but has always intended to sell the project before it enters construction.

Amsterdam-based Typhoon has about 20 employees. The remaining 15% stake in Gemini is owned by a Dutch municipal utility.

One minor sticking point in the negotiations with new investors has been Typhoon’s desire to maintain a small stake in Gemini – as much as 10% – after it enters construction.

“Some parties involved in the negotiations see that as a good idea, while others see us as being too small, and don’t want us to be a part of it,” van den Berg says.

Conservative Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte made clear when he took power in October 2010 that Gemini would be the last major offshore wind farm built in Dutch waters before the end of the decade.

However, the Dutch government collapsed in April, and with a new election planned for later this year there is significant reason to hope that The Netherlands may revive its offshore programme.

The idea has gained steam as officials struggle to reconcile the country’s legally-binding 2020 renewables target with growing objections to more onshore wind farms in Europe’s most densely populated country.