EBRD providing US$ 22 million loan to new solar power plant in Jordan

By Nibal Zgheib

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50 MW Risha solar power plant to be developed by ACWA Power

Intensifying its support for Jordan’s solar power programme, the EBRD is extending a US$ 22 million loan for the construction and operation of a 50 MW photovoltaic (PV) plant in the Risha region, 300 km north-east of the capital, Amman.

The loan will be provided to Risha for Solar Power Projects PSC, a Jordanian company fully owned by the International Company for Water and Power Projects (ACWA Power). The EBRD loan is provided alongside parallel loans from the German Investment Corporation DEG and the Arab Bank, of US$ 16 million each. The Arab Bank is also holding the onshore accounts and security on behalf of the lenders.

The new plant will be located next to an existing 150 MW gas-fired power plant, owned and operated by CEGCO, the largest generator of electricity in Jordan and a subsidiary of ACWA Power. The gas-fired plant was constructed in 1984 and is nearing the end of its lifetime.

Harry Boyd-Carpenter, EBRD Director for Power and Energy, said: “This project will progressively replace the ageing gas-fired plant with a new solar installation generating the cheapest power in Jordan while using the existing transmission line. It is the eighth solar PV project financed by the EBRD in the country during the past four years, bringing the total installed capacity of power projects supported by the Bank in Jordan to more than 1,100 MW. It demonstrates what can be achieved in an environment where the regulatory framework, the tariff design and access to finance allow for the successful use of renewable sources of energy and is a powerful symbol of Jordan's energy transition.”

Rajit Nanda, Chief Investment Officer of ACWA Power, said: “The Risha PV independent power producer (IPP) project makes us one of Jordan’s largest power generators (through the CEGCO, ACWA Power Zarqa and Mafraq PV IPPs), and is yet another demonstration of our commitment to the country. We are also proud to be associated with the EBRD in Jordan, building our continuing partnership, as the Bank supports the development of renewable energy in the Middle East and North Africa region. The partnership with the EBRD for funding this project has been critical in helping us to support NEPCO by providing record low tariffs for renewable energy in Jordan.”

This week the EBRD also signed financing agreements for the Shobak wind project.  Including the 50 MW Al Safawi solar plant, signed in September, the EBRD has financed 145 MW of renewable generating capacity in Jordan during 2017 alone. Since starting operations in the country in 2012, the EBRD has financed more than 1.1 GW of generating capacity across 12 projects.

Jordan became an EBRD country of operations in 2012. To date, the Bank has committed over US$ 1 billion to 41 projects in Jordan.

ACWA Power is a developer, investor and operator of a portfolio of power generation plants and desalinated water production plants, currently with a presence in 10 countries including in the Middle East and North Africa, Southern Africa and South-East Asia regions. ACWA Power’s portfolio, with an investment value in excess of US$ 30 billion, can generate more than 22 GW of power and produce 2.7 million m3 per day of desalinated water, mostly for delivery on a bulk basis to state utilities and industrial majors on long-term off-take contracts under public-private partnership, concession and utility services outsourcing models. ACWA Power, registered and headquartered in Saudi Arabia, is owned by seven Saudi conglomerates, Sanabil Direct Investment Company (owned by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia), the Saudi Public Pension Agency and International Finance Corporation (a member of the World Bank Group). ACWA Power pursues a mission to reliably deliver electricity and desalinated water at the lowest possible cost, thereby contributing to the social and economic development of the communities and countries it invests in and serves. ACWA Power strives to achieve success by adhering to the values of safety, people and performance in operating its business.

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