Uzbekistan Bash WPP

Location:

Uzbekistan

Project number:

52772

Business sector:

Energy

Notice type:

Private

Environmental category:

A

Approval date:

19 Oct 2022

Status:

Approved

PSD disclosed:

15 Sep 2022

Project Description

The provision of a senior secured loan of up to USD 150 million on a project finance basis to finance the development, design, construction and operation of the 500 MW Bash WPP located in the Gijduvon district, Bukhara region of Uzbekistan. The project also entails B loans for the account of the expected B Lenders.

Project Objectives

This is one of the pilot wind projects developed by ACWA Power and the Government of Uzbekistan under the Government's efforts to attract private investment to the generation sector. The project will be highly representative in terms of energy supply diversification, increased use of renewables potential and attracting private investment. It will assist the country in its low-carbon transition, reducing its current high reliance on thermal power generation.

Transition Impact

ETI score: 75

The project's transition impact is based on the Green TI quality as the Project will add 500 MW of wind generation capacity to the Uzbekistan power system. It also features Inclusive TI as the project will increase access to skills and employment opportunities for youth by (i) introducing an accredited training programme in the wind energy sector, and (ii) developing national occupational skills standards and educational standards for two emerging occupations in the renewable energy field.

Client Information

ACWA POWER BASH WIND FE LLC

The borrower will be an SPV created solely for the purpose of implementing the project, incorporated in the Republic of Uzbekistan and owned by ACWA Power Company, a Saudi Listed Joint Stock Company (previously known as "International Company for Water and Power") (ACWA Power).

ACWA Power is an international developer of power generation, desalinated water and green hydrogen production projects.

EBRD Finance Summary

USD 150,000,000.00

Total Project Cost

USD 709,000,000.00

Additionality

The EBRD offers long-term financing that is not available in the market from commercial sources on reasonable terms and conditions. The EBRD offers a tenor above the market average, which is necessary to structure the Project and ensure the delivery of the longer-term TI objectives.

The Bank offers an innovative financing structure on terms not available otherwise, providing a long-term senior loan on a project finance basis and mobilising commercial banks under the EBRD A/B loan structure for the first time in the Uzbek market.

The EBRD's involvement in a project triggers a change in the policy, sector, institutional or regulatory framework, or enhance practices at the sector or country level. The Project is a key milestone for the country's renewables sector, and will further its green agenda, serving as a pilot for further renewables development.

Environmental and Social Summary

Categorised A (ESP 2019).  The cumulative development of two 500 MW greenfield wind farms (Bash and Dzhankeldy WPPs; located in different locations), and grid connection infrastructure of over 290 km of HV OHTL, is associated with potentially significant environmental and social impacts and risks, notably biodiversity as well as land and livelihoods impacts on land users, and requires an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment ("ESIA") in line with EBRD ESP and 60 days' disclosure prior to the Board consideration.  An ESIA package for each WPP was disclosed on 20 May 2022 on EBRD's and the Sponsor's websites.  An updated ESIA was uploaded on 30 September 2022 on the Sponsor's website, and a summary of material changes posted on EBRD's ESIA website; the changes do not contradict the previously-disclosed ESIA, and support and confirm the conclusions and assumptions of the original ESIA by further elaborating its specific aspects.   Additional in-person public consultations with local stakeholders have been undertaken during the disclosure period, which were attended by the Bank staff.  Additional E&S management plans have been developed post-disclosure as part of Sponsor's pre-Board commitment.  The Bank has engaged with leading ornithological NGOs during the consultation process.  No significant public concerns have been raised against the Project during ESIA preparation and disclosure process.

 

An international consultant was retained by lenders and undertook an Environmental and Social Due Diligence ("ESDD") including a gap analysis of the client's ESIA, assessment of cumulative impacts from the Projects and the associated infrastructure, community health and safety, livelihood impacts, gender and labour risks during construction and operation, as well as supply chain risks.  The ESDD has been undertaken jointly with other lenders, including ADB.

 

The Bash WPP site is located closer to an ecologically sensitive area; near to a protected bird area (Lake Ayakagitma - IBA) and the ESDD included additional review of the potential impacts on avifauna and need for mitigation measures based on a bird collision risk assessment.  Biodiversity baseline surveys included additional information on all species present at the site, including red lists species as well as an independent Critical Habitat Assessment.  The Project has been subject to comprehensive impact assessments with the participation of local and world-class ornithologists, who have analysed in detail the collision risks associated with the operation of the wind farms following best international industry practice and developed appropriate mitigation measures.  In addition, consultations were undertaken with local and international nature protection organisations, namely Birdlife International (UK HQ) and their local partner in Uzbekistan, and their specific recommendations on mitigation, including turbine micro-siting and shut-down on demand ("SDOD") were taken into consideration when finalising the ESIA and Environmental and Social Action Plan ("ESAP").  Based on the ESDD, due to the proximity of IBAs, as a precautionary measure additional micro-siting of turbines has been performed to be minimum of 2 km away from the IBA and a minimum of 750 m from known nesting locations of important species such as Golden Eagle, Egyptian Vulture and Saker Falcon; the initial number of turbines has been considerably reduced.  The ESAP included the need for implementation of a state-of-the art camera-led shut down-on-demand system - Identiflight - for the entire wind farm to avoid bird collisions in the sensitive Bash WPP. 

 

The impacts of the OHTL were also assessed and route alignment has been altered to avoid potential risk areas for birds, further measures to prevent bird collision/electrocution with the conductors were proposed, such as bird-friendly design of towers and bird diverters.  A Biodiversity Management Plan Package - including Breeding Bird Protection Plan, Flora Conservation Action Plan, Reptile Relocation Plan, Collision Risk Management Plan, Post-Construction Fatality Monitoring Plan, and Livestock Management Plan, as well as offset programme - was developed.  Overall, the Bank has structured the Project to achieve No Net Loss/Net Gains of biodiversity and thus full compliance with PR 6.

 

The Projects will lead to economic and physical displacement of local herders within the project sites and temporally disrupt their grazing activities; the Bash WPP will impact approximately 0.053% of the total grazing land under Kokcha LLC (used by 10 herders). The majority of the land users on the OHTLs routes will experience short-term temporary impacts (during the construction period) but they will be able to continue farming and grazing along the OHTL during the operation phase.  The livelihood impacts will be mitigated through fair compensation packages and additional livelihood restoration programmes defined in Resettlement Action Plans ("RAPs") which were developed in consultation with herders, farmers, landowners and local authorities.

 

The Projects are also going to involve an influx of a workforce during the construction phase and associated labour risks related to working conditions for the contractor's workers on the project site including temporary accommodation facilities.  To address these risks, the Environmental and Social Management Framework ("ESMF") developed for the Projects included mitigation and monitoring requirements for the duration of the Projects.  To add to this, given the large workforce influx to the rural area and contextual risk profile related to gender-based violence and harassment ("GBVH"), the Borrowers will implement a GBVH policy and code of conduct to address potential GBVH risks.

 

A detailed supply chain risk assessment conducted for core suppliers of wind turbine generator (WTG) and their sub-suppliers  which proved that  there is no evidence of  child and forced labour risks in their supply chain and the WTG has strong supply chain policy and practices which includes a code of conduct embedded into contracts with their core suppliers requiring suppliers to identify and address labour risks in their operations.  Other mitigations adopted for the Projects include but not limited to: (a) ESAP actions requiring the Company to establish a responsible sourcing policy and ensure traceability from EPC to WTG and their core suppliers; (b) having EPC, WTG and its primary suppliers adopt self-declarations and codes of conduct regarding prohibition of any forms of forced labour in their operations; (c) list of core suppliers to be involved in production/assembly of wind turbine components to be contractually locked; d) legal covenants added into the EPC contract mandating the EPC to map and then complete risk assessment of primary suppliers and continue to monitor and report on their compliance during construction; (e) to address non-compliances that were identified through supply chain due diligence or will be identified in future audits through a Corrective Action Plan in a timely manner; (f) commitment for the Company to provide notifications to EBRD if/when forced labour risks or allegations are raised in relation to the WTG and its core suppliers; and (g) dis-engagement clauses added to the contracts in case of material non-compliance with key provisions listed above. The Project Company will continue to monitor supply chain risks during operation phase in line with the commitments made in the Supply Chain Management Plan (SCMP). 

 

ESDD confirmed that the Project is structured to meet Bank's PRs and the Company has agreed to further strengthen its institutional capacity to implement the ESAP requirements throughout the lifetime of the projects.  The ESAP has been agreed with the Company and with other Lenders prior to Board approval.

 

Bank will continue to monitor the projects through bi-annual AESR reports and regular site visits to ensure effective implementation of these requirements.

 

The Project Environmental and Social Impact Assessment can be found here: https://www.ebrd.com/work-with-us/projects/esia/uzbekistan-bash-wpp.html 

Technical Cooperation and Grant Financing

N/A

Company Contact Information

Sachin Abhyankar
SAbhyankar@acwapower.com
+971 58 634 6493

PSD last updated

04 Nov 2022

Understanding Transition

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

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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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