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.
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.
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.
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
Total Project Cost
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
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
Company Contact Information
+359 889 490800
+359 2 986 7549
Aries Office Building, floor 2 32A Cherni Vrah Blvd Sofia 1407 Bulgaria
Project construction was completed in March 2010 and COD achieved in April 2012.
PSD last updated
20 May 2021
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