EBRD-led US $74 million package supports biggest renewables project in Central Asia

By Anton Usov

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  • EBRD organises US$ 74 million financing package for Uzbek Zarafshan wind power plant
  • US$ 42 million EBRD A loan, US$10 million FMO B loan; US$ 22 million revolving VAT facility
  • 500 MW plant in the Navoi region will save 757,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year

The EBRD has organised a financing package of US$ 74 million, provided as an A/B loan and a revolving facility, to Uzbekistan’s Shamol Zarafshan Energy Foreign Enterprise LLC for the development, construction and operation of a 500 MW greenfield wind power plant in the Navoi region of Uzbekistan – the largest renewable project in Central Asia to date.

Zarafshan, which is incorporated as a limited liability company in Uzbekistan, is wholly owned by Masdar, the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company PJSC, which is in turn indirectly owned by the government of Abu Dhabi and is an existing client of the EBRD.

The EBRD will take on US$ 42 million of the senior loan, while the B loan portion of US$ 10 million will come from the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank, FMO. Further parallel loans will be provided by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Natixis and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) under the Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI) cover. 

In addition, the EBRD will provide a revolving facility for US$ 22 million, guaranteed by Masdar, to finance VAT payment needs during construction, an innovation for Uzbekistan.

Another innovation incorporated into the project protects birds at risk of collision with wind turbines. This is done through the use of Identiflight, an aerial AI-based HRSC-camera system for shut-down on demand, which is able to monitor and detect the species at risk of collision and trigger automatic curtailment of selected turbines. This system is being deployed in Central Asia for the first time.

Since 2017, Uzbekistan has embarked on a major power sector reform aimed at establishing an effective regulatory regime, enhancing security of supply and attracting private sector investment, while aiming to diversify the country’s energy mix and develop its significant renewable energy potential.

The Uzbek government’s renewables deployment plan targets development of 12 GW of solar and wind capacity by 2030.  As the first wind power project in Uzbekistan and the largest renewable energy project in Central Asia, this project will support the government’s strategic priority.

To date, the EBRD has invested nearly €3.5 billion in 111 projects in Uzbekistan.

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