Baker & McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise) advised on the negotiation of project finance-related turbine supply and service agreements and EPCI contracts for wind turbine foundations and onshore facilities, etc. for the 220 MW Kitakyushu Hibikinada Offshore Wind Farm, Japan's largest-ever offshore wind farm project. Financing was co-arranged by Mizuho Bank, Ltd., MUFG Bank, Ltd. and Development Bank of Japan, Inc. as mandated lead arrangers, joined by 34 other lenders. The Project involves the construction and operation of 25 bottom-fixed offshore wind turbines in the Hibikinada area of the Port of Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Japan, to supply zero-emission electricity for 20 years. 9.6 MW class large-scale wind turbine generators will be installed for the first time in Japan.
Offshore wind energy is expected to play an essential decarbonization role in Japan. In its Sixth Strategic Energy Plan approved in October 2021, the Government of Japan established offshore wind as a vital means of achieving an electricity supply system dominated by renewable energy. The project was publicly tendered by the city of Kitakyushu as part of its efforts to achieve zero-carbon by 2050 and represents a pivotal milestone for Green Energy Port HIBIKI, the city’s initiative to extensively leverage the Port of Kitakyushu as a comprehensive wind-related industry hub.
The project company, Hibiki Wind Energy Co., Ltd. (HWE), is led by sponsors with businesses and presences in Kitakyushu: Kyuden Mirai Energy, J-POWER, Hokutaku, Saibu Gas and Kyudenko. HWE co-developed the project with local stakeholders after the company was awarded the right to develop the project by the city of Kitakyushu in 2017. The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization also supported HWE by carrying out wind measurements and geotechnical surveys. The project company has commenced construction and plans to start commercial operation in FY2025.
The Firm's team was led by Naoaki "Nick" Eguchi, co-head of the Tokyo office's Renewable Energy Group, and partner Tsutomu "Tom" Kobayashi, with the support of team members Pierre Chiasson, Naoki Ishikawa, Mana Isobe and Ryota Hiyamizu.