Saint Nikola Wind Farm

Location:

Bulgaria

Project number:

38838

Business sector:

Energy

Notice type:

Private

Environmental category:

A

Approval date:

14 Jul 2021

Status:

Complete

PSD disclosed:

22 May 2008

Project Description

AES Geo Energy OOD (the "Borrower") is a special purpose vehicle incorporated in Bulgaria to develop and operate the Saint Nikola wind farm with 156 MW installed capacity located in the Kavarna region in the Northeast of Bulgaria. Project construction was completed in March 2010 and COD achieved in April 2012. The Bank's original A loan of EUR 66m and B loan of EUR 53m were approved on 30 September 2008 and signed on 2 December 2008.

The proposed 2021 transaction comprises a refinancing of the Bank's existing A loan and B loan with a new loan of EUR 35m, exceeding the currently outstanding EBRD A loan amount by EUR 19m. The proposed refinancing envisages five years of merchant exposure after the expiration of the current support mechanism.

Project Objectives

The Bank's original A loan of EUR 66m and B loan of EUR 53m have been used to finance the development and operation of Saint Nikola wind farm.

The proposed new loan of EUR 35m comprises the refinancing of the Bank's existing exposure, resulting in an additional commitment of EUR 19m.

Transition Impact

ETI score: 100

The transition impact of the original project was associated with a significant expansion of Bulgaria's renewable energy market through non-recourse financing of the largest renewable project in Bulgaria and one of the largest in Southeast Europe, privately developed under largely untested regulatory environment. As such, the project was expected to facilitate further private development of viable, commercially financed wind projects and assist Bulgaria in achieving the declared policy objectives.

Inclusive: As part of the proposed 2021 refinancing, the Borrower has committed to develop an inclusion intiative by funding inclusion opportunities for students from the traditionally coal-dependent Stara Zagora Province by (i) helping to establish an accredited university course at the Technical University of Varna related to the practical aspects of designing, constructing and operating a large wind park, and (ii) offering tuition grants and paid internships to student from the Stara Zagora Province with the aim of reaching at least 50% female participants.

 

Client Information

AES GEO ENERGY OOD

AES Geo Energy OOD (the "Borrower") is a special purpose vehicle incorporated in Bulgaria to develop and operate the Saint Nikola wind farm with 156 MW installed capacity located in the Kavarna region in the Northeast of Bulgaria.

AES Geo Energy OOD is owned 89% by AES Wind Investments II B.V. (Netherlands) and 11% by GeoPower (Bulgaria), the latter a private company that was involved at the Project's initial development phase. AES Wind Investments II B.V. is ultimately fully owned by the listed entity AES Corp (USA). No change of shareholding is envisaged as a result of the proposed change.

EBRD Finance Summary

EUR 85,314,288.00

Total Project Cost

EUR 350,077,184.00

Sources and uses of the proposed 2021 refinancing:

Sources total: EUR 70.9m

EBRD loan: EUR 35.4m

Commercial loans: EUR 35.4m

Uses Total: EUR 70.9m

Capex refinancing: EUR 70.9m

Additionality

As part of the proposed 2021 refinancing, the Bank will offer long-term financing structure partly exposed to merchant risk that is not readily available on the market and will facilitate mobilisation of two commercial co-lenders.

Environmental and Social Summary

The original project was screened A/0, thus requiring an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA). The project was subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) according to Bulgarian regulatory requirements.  In addition, in order to fully comply with the EBRD policy requirements, additional studies were undertaken to take account of, among others, the possible Natura 2000 designation. These included landscape assessment, cumulative assessment and a bird collision risk assessment. A disclosure package was prepared by AES to the satisfaction of the Bank and was disclosed on 26 May 2008. The due diligence showed that the project had been structured to meet Bulgarian and EU environmental standards. The construction of a new wind farm was assessed to have a positive impact in terms of renewable energy generation but, at the same time, due to its location, concerns were raised in terms of ecological impacts by ornithological societies due to the potential impact of the wind turbines on migratory birds as well as wintering red breasted geese (RBG). This migratory route, called Via Pontica, is of international importance and accounts for large proportions of a number of Europe's red listed species. The conclusion of the Bank's due diligence was that this project would have a low impact on migratory birds given the mitigation measures proposed, although it might result in a few fatalities of endangered birds (mainly pelicans) over the lifetime of the project. Additional monitoring and mitigating measures inclusive of independent monitoring in January 2009 to verify bird numbers and adequacy of mitigating solutions were included in a comprehensive Environmental and Social Monitoring and Management Plan (ESMMP) and agreed with AES. Other measures included in the ESMMP involved the installation and operation of a radar system to shut down the wind farm under specific condition to reduce risk of bird mortality, viewed as industry best practice. 

The project has remained in compliance with its environmental requirements to date.

Technical Cooperation and Grant Financing

None.

Company Contact Information

Ivan Tzankov
ivan.tzankov@aes.com
+359 889 490800
+359 2 986 7549
www.aes.com
Aries Office Building, floor 2 32A Cherni Vrah Blvd Sofia 1407 Bulgaria

Implementation summary

Project construction was completed in March 2010 and COD achieved in April 2012.

PSD last updated

20 May 2021

Understanding Transition

Further information regarding the EBRD’s approach to measuring transition impact is available here.

Business opportunities

For business opportunities or procurement, contact the client company.

For business opportunities with EBRD (not related to procurement) contact:

Tel: +44 20 7338 7168
Email: projectenquiries@ebrd.com

For state-sector projects, visit EBRD Procurement:

Tel: +44 20 7338 6794
Email: procurement@ebrd.com

General enquiries

Specific enquiries can be made using the EBRD Enquiries form.

Environmental and Social Policy (ESP)

The ESP and the associated Performance Requirements (PRs) set out the ways in which the EBRD implements its commitment to promoting “environmentally sound and sustainable development”.  The ESP and the PRs include specific provisions for clients to comply with the applicable requirements of national laws on public information and consultation as well as to establish a grievance mechanism to receive and facilitate resolution of stakeholders’ concerns and grievances, in particular, about environmental and social performance of the client and the project. Proportionate to the nature and scale of a project’s environmental and social risks and impacts, the EBRD additionally requires its clients to disclose information, as appropriate, about the risks and impacts arising from projects or to undertake meaningful consultation with stakeholders and consider and respond to their feedback.

More information on the EBRD’s practices in this regard is set out in the ESP.

Integrity and Compliance

The EBRD's Office of the Chief Compliance Officer (OCCO) promotes good governance and ensures that the highest standards of integrity are applied to all activities of the Bank in accordance with international best practice. Integrity due diligence is conducted on all Bank clients to ensure that projects do not present unacceptable integrity or reputational risks to the Bank. The Bank believes that identifying and resolving issues at the project assessment approval stages is the most effective means of ensuring the integrity of Bank transactions. OCCO plays a key role in these protective efforts, and also helps to monitor integrity risks in projects post-investment.

OCCO is also responsible for investigating allegations of fraud, corruption and misconduct in EBRD-financed projects. Anyone, both within or outside the Bank, who suspects fraud or corruption should submit a written report to the Chief Compliance Officer by email to compliance@ebrd.com. All matters reported will be handled by OCCO for follow-up. All reports, including anonymous ones, will be reviewed. Reports can be made in any language of the Bank or of the Bank's countries of operation. The information provided must be made in good faith.

Access to Information Policy (AIP)

The AIP sets out how the EBRD discloses information and consults with its stakeholders so as to promote better awareness and understanding of its strategies, policies and operations following its entry into force on 1 January 2020. Please visit the Access to Information Policy page to find out what information is available from the EBRD website.

Specific requests for information can be made using the EBRD Enquiries form.

Independent Project Accountability Mechanism (IPAM)

If efforts to address environmental, social or public disclosure concerns with the Client or the Bank are unsuccessful (e.g. through the Client’s Project-level grievance mechanism or through direct engagement with Bank management), individuals and organisations may seek to address their concerns through the EBRD’s Independent Project Accountability Mechanism (IPAM).

IPAM independently reviews Project issues that are believed to have caused (or to be likely to cause) harm. The purpose of the Mechanism is: to support dialogue between Project stakeholders to resolve environmental, social and public disclosure issues; to determine whether the Bank has complied with its Environmental and Social Policy or Project-specific provisions of its Access to Information Policy; and where applicable, to address any existing non-compliance with these policies, while preventing future non-compliance by the Bank.

Please visit the Independent Project Accountability Mechanism webpage to find out more about IPAM and its mandate; how to submit a Request for review; or contact IPAM  via email ipam@ebrd.com to get guidance and more information on IPAM and how to submit a request.

 

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