The world largest wind farm, off the Danish coast, is being financed with a EUR 134 million loan by the European Investment Bank, the European Union's long-term financing institution. The offshore wind farm is located south of Horns Rev in the North Sea, some 15-20 km off the Danish west coast of Jutland. The loan contract was signed today in Fredericia (Denmark) by EIB Vice President Michael Tutty and Messrs Erik Folkersen and Egon Nielsen of Elsam, the main producer and supplier of electricity in the west of Denmark.

The wind farm will make a major contribution to Denmark's energy supplies, increasing the country's wind-power generating capacity by 8%. This is the first major offshore wind farm to be financed by the EIB, the EU's policy driven bank. It will reinforce renewable energy production in the west of Denmark, which is already at about 20%, substantially higher than the EU target of 12%. This EIB co-financed project comprises a total of 80 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 2 MW. The turbines are connected to the grid by an offshore substation, as well as 21 km submarine cable and a 34 km underground land cable. The wind farm will generate renewable energy for supply to the public grid, replacing fossil fuel powered generation in line with Danish and EU policy.

Mr Tutty, the EIB Vice-President responsible for Denmark, said: This project represents a significant contribution to Danish and European targets for renewable energy generation and enhances the diversification of energy supply. It is an important addition to the EIB's renewable energy portfolio, which we intend to double over the next couple of years, and is a good pilot model for such investments elsewhere in Europe.

Mr Erik Folkersen, Elsam's Executive Officer said: Completing the project has given Elsam A/S valuable experience, which we are sure will form a good basis for the realisation of our vision in the current internationalisation process. At the same time, we are pleased that the project will make it possible to continue the long-standing cooperation with EIB for the funding our major plant investments.

The European Investment Bank finances capital investment furthering EU integration. Owned by the EU Member States, the EIB raises its funds on capital markets (AAA issuer). In 2002, the EIB lent some EUR 39 billion, of which EUR 1 027 million in Denmark. Environmental protection and improvement are among the EIB's key lending objectives. The EIB environmental lending activities in the energy sector cover a wide range of investments, including support for the renewable energy initiatives. In line with the EU aim of boosting renewable energy production, the EIB has set a target to at least doubling the share of renewable energy in its total energy sector financing over the next five years.

From 1993 to 2002, the EIB provided more than EUR 2.4 billion in individual loans (76% in the EU and 24% outside) in the renewable energy sector. Currently, the EIB is considering a number of projects such as wind farms, global loans for renewable energy projects and R&D linked to renewable energy sources in various countries, especially in Germany.