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Vineyard Wind moving to secure financing despite regulatory uncertainty

Despite regulatory uncertainty regarding the future of its namesake project, Vineyard Wind LLC is moving ahead with financing for its offshore wind facility.

The project company, which is jointly owned by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners K/S and Avangrid Renewables LLC, each with 50%, plans to wrap financing by the end of 2019, renewable-focused investment bankers told S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Santander Bank NA has been tapped to lead a debt raise for the project, while CCA Group LLC is advising on tax equity, according to the investment bankers.

Construction on the 800-MW Vineyard Offshore Wind Project, which will be situated in federal waters off the coast of Massachusetts, is slated to begin between 2020 and 2021.

The project company entered into 20-year power supply agreements with National Grid USA, Eversource Energy and Unitil Corp. in July, and selected MHI Vestas Offshore Wind A/S to supply turbines for the facility in November.

Also in November, Rhode Island's Coastal Resources Management Council declined to support Vineyard Wind after the state's Fisherman's Advisory Board warned the project's turbine layout would block off key fishing grounds.

The project has until the end of January 2019 to find common ground with New England fishermen who fear they will be unable to work in the waters where the wind facility would be built, according to a Nov. 27 report in the Providence (R.I.) Journal. A representative for Vineyard Wind confirmed the news regarding the negotiation process with the Fisherman's Advisory Board to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Because Vineyard Wind is close enough to Rhode Island to affect its coastal resources and activities, federal law gives the state power to block the project.

Lars Thaaning Pedersen, the CEO of Vineyard Wind LLC and co-CEO of Copenhagen Offshore Partners, the offshore wind development arm of CIP, declined to comment on details of the financing.

Representatives of Santander in New York and CCA Group in Boston did not immediately respond to inquiries.