The Zophia wind farm is a 792MW onshore wind power project being developed in the Zaporizhya region of Ukraine. Being developed in three stages, Zophia will be one of the biggest onshore wind farms in Europe.
NBT, a utility-scale wind power developer based in Norway, is the developer of the £860m ($1.1bn) project. The Norwegian company agreed to purchase 82% ownership of the project from Ukraine-based Venture Fund Strategii in February 2019.
The engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contracts, as well as the preliminary financing arrangement agreement for the project, were signed in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Construction activities are expected to be started in 2020 with commissioning expected in 2021.
At full capacity, the Zophia onshore wind farm will generate up to 3000GWh of electricity annually to power approximately 400,000 Ukrainian households in the Zaporizhya region, while offsetting approximately 1.6 million tonnes (Mt) of CO2 emissions a year.
Location and site details
The Zophia onshore wind farm is being developed approximately 25km southwest of Melitopol in the Zaporizhya region of Ukraine.
Located in the Yakymivka district to the north of Azov Sea, the wind farm site comprises mostly flat terrain and spans over 39km from north to south.
The Zophia wind farm make-up
Zophia onshore wind power project is being developed in three phases. The installed capacity of the Zophia-I wind farm will be 42.5MW, while the Zophia-II and the Zophia-III wind farms will be of 300MW and 450MW capacities respectively.
The 792.5MW wind farm will be installed with a total of 180 wind turbines and the rotor diameter of each turbine will range between 145m and 155m.
Power evacuation and off-take
The electricity generated from the Zophia-II wind farm will be transmitted through an 86km transmission line connecting the Molanchansk substation, while the existing 90km-long Molachanska-Dnipr transmission line will be upgraded for the transmission of electricity from the Zophia-III wind farm.
The power generated from Zophia onshore wind project will be sold to Ukraine’s state-owned wholesale electricity market operator Energorynok.
Zophia onshore wind farm project finance
NBT signed a preliminary financing arrangement agreement for approximately £430mn ($558m) of senior debt facility for the Zophia-II and the Zophia-III wind farms from a group of Chinese banks including the Industrial Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the Export-Import (Exim) Bank of China, and the China Construction Bank (CCB) in October 2019.
NBT is also planning to secure an additional £215m ($279m) of project financing from other banks for the Zophia-II and the Zophia-III wind farms.
China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Company (CET), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) was awarded the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contracts for the Zophia-II and the Zophia-III wind farms in October 2019.
Integrites, a law firm based in Ukraine, advised NBT on the acquisition of the project from Ukraine-based Venture Fund Strategii in February 2019 as well as on signing the EPC contracts and the preliminary financing arrangement agreement for the project in October 2019.
Simons and Simons also provided legal advisory services to NBT for the award of EPC contracts and the signing of the financing agreement for the Zophia wind power project.