The EBRD is considering the provision of up to USD 10mm, via equity (USD 3mm) and shareholder loans (USD 7mm), in Empower New Energy AS, through the group company Empower Invest AS ("Empower" or the "Company") to participate in its USD 70mm Series B fundraising to develop a portfolio of small- and medium scale predominantly greenfield private-to-private solar PV projects (including storage solutions where applicable) in several African countries, including Egypt and Morocco (the "Project"). The Bank's funding will be ring-fenced to ensure it is directed solely towards EBRD's countries of operation.
Small- and medium scale renewable energy ("RE") projects in the SEMED region is a fast-growing segment with considerable funding needs that, if addressed, could accelerate the integration of more renewable energy and spur transition to a more sustainable energy mix in these countries that are still heavily reliant on fossil fuels. The proposed investment will support a renewable energy investment platform company developing small- and medium scale solar PV projects with storage (where applicable) active mainly in the private-to-private market in the Bank's Countries of Operation.
ETI score: 80
The investment's transition impact arises from (i) supporting the market entrance of a new private renewable energy player into the Bank's region, where private sector participation is limited (Competitive quality) and (ii) delivering climate mitigation benefits through the expansion of renewable energy generation capacity in EBRD countries of operations (Green quality).
EMPOWER INVEST AS
Empower New Energy AS is a renewable energy investment company established in 2017 and incorporated and headquartered in Norway. The Company specialises in financing small and medium-sized on- and off-grid solar PV projects in Africa.
EBRD Finance Summary
Total Project Cost
EBRD helps mitigate the lack of adequate local equity markets by supporting a Norwegian RE development company's foreign direct investments in the SEMED. With this investment, EBRD will help to fill a funding gap in a fragmented market with overall limited access to equity. Small-scale RE projects have not been deployed in these geographies at scale so far, due to shortage in funding and expertise. The Bank will also bring added value by ensuring that Empower implements best practice and standards in terms of corporate governance (including minorities' rights protection), E&S best practice in line with the Bank's PRs, and appropriate risk management procedures in the project execution and portfolio management.
Environmental and Social Summary
Categorised B (2019 ESP). Through the equity investment into international impact investment company, the Bank will be exposed to all Environmental and Social (E&S) risks associated with the Company's current operations and future developments, which are mainly small-scale private-to-private greenfield solar PV projects.
E&S due diligence (ESDD) was conducted by an independent consultant and included a review of Company corporate E&S management provisions and capacity, existing Company assets as well as potential E&S risks associated with individual projects. Future projects are expected to be category B and will require sign off by EBRD after review of Empower's E&S assessment of those. Should any future development be categorized A, it will require full Environmental and Social Assessment (ESIA). The ESDD has demonstrated that Empower has a robust Environmental and Social Management System in place and reports publicly on its performance, targets and commitments to undertake all their activities in line with the SDGs and IFC's Performance Standards. The ESDD included analysis of current and potential risks at existing projects, and existing and planned off takers, and the ESAP includes actions for the Company to address such risks, and liaise with off takers where necessary. No land acquisition, biodiversity or cultural heritage issues have been identified; however, future projects may be associated with such issues and these will need to be considered as part of the respective assessments. E&S provisions are included by the Company in all projects, and are cascaded down to the EPC contractors, who are monitored regularly by external consultants. An action has been added to further detail those provisions for EPC contractors and suppliers and enhance the monitoring done on site. Although a formal supply chain management plan is yet to be developed, Empower is committed through their Code of Conduct and ESMS to not permit the purchase of solar panels known to have been manufactured by child and/or forced labour. An ESAP item has been added to develop a Supply chain management system, and systematically map and risk assess the solar panel suppliers and liaise with the EBRD with their findings before any procurement takes place.
Technical Cooperation and Grant Financing
Company Contact Information
Susie Scannelli Cook
+44 7759 21214
Snarøyveien 20, 1360 Fornebu, Oslo, Norway
PSD last updated
23 Jun 2022
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