September 17, 2021
Latham & Watkins LLP represented a group of nine international and US-based banks, who agreed to provide senior credit facilities of up to US$2.3 billion for purposes of financing the first major offshore windfarm to achieve financial close in the United States.
The project is being developed by Vineyard Wind, a joint venture between Avangrid Renewables, a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc., and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, and represents one of the largest investments in a single renewable energy project in the United States. This milestone enables Vineyard Wind to allow suppliers to start hiring, training and mobilizing people to prepare for both onshore and offshore construction.
The US government approved the Vineyard Wind project in May 2021, billing it as the inception of a new domestic industry that will eliminate emissions from the power sector, a critical pillar in the Biden administration’s climate change agenda.
The senior debt financing now allows Vineyard Wind to start onshore construction in the fall of 2021 in Barnstable, Massachusetts, with offshore work commencing in 2022. The first power from the 800 MW project is expected to be delivered to the grid in 2023 and is expected to generate electricity for more than 400,000 homes and businesses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, saving ratepayers US$1.4 billion over the first 20 years of operation. It is expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 1.6 million tons per year.
The Latham team was led by New York partner Matthew Henegar. New York partner Kelly Cataldo led the financing team, with assistance from New York associate Meredith Strike. Washington, D.C. partner Janice Schneider led the siting and permitting team, with assistance from Washington, D.C. counsel Josh Marnitz, Washington, D.C. associate Sam Scott and Boston associate Henry van Seventer. San Diego counsel Seth Richardson led the project diligence and commercial contracts team, with assistance from New York associates Cameron Lyons and Aan Amin. New York partner Eli Katz led on tax matters, with assistance from Chicago associate Michael Zucker. Washington, D.C. counsel Michael Gergen and Washington, D.C. associate Richard Griffin provided assistance on energy regulatory matters. New York counsel Betsy Mukamal and New York associate Karen Ritter provided assistance on real estate matters.