RWE npower has closed a transaction valued at more than GBP165 million for the transfer of a further four wind energy projects to Beaufort Wind Limited.

The four wind energy projects sold to Beaufort Wind Limited (BWL) have a total capacity of 140MW and include the UK’s first major offshore wind farm, North Hoyle (60MW), completed in April 2004. The purchase of North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm is thought to represent the first ‘non-recourse’ project financing of an offshore wind farm in the world and should help attract further investment funds into this developing sector.

The three onshore wind farms making up the balance of the package are: Bears Down Wind Farm (a 10MW project in Cornwall); Windy Standard Wind Farm (a 22MW project in Dumfries and Galloway), and Causeymire Wind Farm (a 48MW project in Caithness).

The deal completes the second phase of the GBP400 million Zephyr investment fund set up in 2004.RWE npower will retain a 1/3 stake in the projects through its investment in the Zephyr fund. In addition, RWE npower will continue to operate and maintain the projects through npower renewables on behalf of the other shareholders.

RWE npower’s retail subsidiary, npower, will maintain its buy-back of the power, Levy Exemption Certificates and Renewable Obligation Certificates from North Hoyle and Causeymire under long-term purchase contracts. The output from Windy Standard and Bears Down will be sold under the existing SRO and NFFO contracts as before and the green power from North Hoyle will continue to be sold by npower to its ‘juice’ retail customers.