Syrdarya Power Project

Location:

Uzbekistan

Project number:

51963

Business sector:

Energy

Notice type:

Private

Environmental category:

A

Approval date:

10 Feb 2021

Status:

Disbursing

PSD disclosed:

12 Nov 2020

Project Description

The provision of a senior loan of up to US$ 200 million in favour of FE "ACWA Power Sirdarya LLC" (the "Company" or the "Borrower"), a limited liability company to be incorporated in Uzbekistan for the purpose of the construction and operation of 1,500 MW combined cycle gas-fired power plant in the Syrdarya region of Uzbekistan (the "Project").  The Project is part of an ongoing modernisation of the power generation sector in Uzbekistan aimed at increasing efficiency and reducing the environmental impact.  It will lead to the closure of 1,170 MW of old and inefficient capacity at the existing Syrdarya thermal power plant.  The Project is expected to lead to an estimated total system-wide savings of 2,611,000 tonnes of CO2 via the 1,539,000 tonnes CO2 savings due to decommissioning of inefficient units and further 1,072,000 tonnes of CO2 savings from the improved efficiency and reduced carbon intensity of the new plant.

An independent economic assessment including shadow carbon pricing and lock in risk was carried out in line with the EBRD's Methodology for the economic assessment of projects with high greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The core results confirm an economic net present value of USD 2.1 billion when compared to a baseline of no-investment.  This is because the Project replaces less efficient sources, and thus saves both costs and emissions.  The assessment also shows the economic competiveness of Solar PV, which combines relatively low running costs (fixed and variable operational and maintenance costs) with no significant carbon and local air pollution damage. Solar PV is, however, significantly less reliable (i.e., its availability at peak demand times) than other options.

Project Objectives

The EBRD loan will finance the development, construction and operation of 1,500MW combined-cycle gas-fired power plant in the Syrdarya region of Uzbekistan. It will promote private sector participation in the energy market and strengthen the country's generation fleet with a more efficient and reliable capacity.

Transition Impact

The expected transition impact will result from significant efficiency improvements in the national generation fleet delivered through the entry of a private sector participant in the predominantly state-owned power generation sector and policy dialogue for improving the sector regulation in consultation with private sector players (Competitive).  The Project will also increase access to skills and employment for young women and men by developing accredited vocational programmes on combined-cycle technologies and green skills, and supporting the re-skilling of a share of the workforce from the existing power plant (Inclusive).

Client Information

ACWA POWER SIRDARYA LLC

FE "ACWA Power Sirdarya" LLC is a special purpose vehicle incorporated in Uzbekistan for the sole purpose of the Project, and is ultimately 100 per cent owned by International Company for Water and Power Projects ("ACWA Power").

ACWA Power is a developer and operator of a number of power generation and desalinated water plants across Middle East, Africa and Asia.  Registered and headquartered in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

EBRD Finance Summary

USD 200,000,000.00

Total Project Cost

USD 1,023,635,072.00

Additionality

Financing structure: The Bank is highly additional in providing long term financing and mobilizing commercial lenders in the Uzbek market, particularly in view of the limited liquidity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Innovative financing structures and/or instruments: Long term project finance structures are innovative for the Uzbek power sector.  Policy, Sector, Institutional or regulatory change: the Bank will support the Government in drafting the "Law on Energy Regulator" to create a legal framework consistent with the best international practices.  Risk mitigation: The Bank's  extensive policy engagement and track-record offers comfort to the Sponsor in the new market.  Standard setting: The Company will develop and implement a policy to address any form of violence or harassment, including any form of gender based violence or harassment(GBVH).

Environmental and Social Summary

Categorised A (2019 ESP) and High Risk due to the CCGT size, labour risks (particularly during the construction phase), Gender Based Violence and Harassment risk, cumulative impacts with the existing power plant, use of water cooling and GHG emissions.  An Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the Project has been undertaken by the Client and was subject to the Gap Analysis and Environmental and Social Due Diligence (ESDD) performed by an independent Consultant, in compliance with Bank's PRs.  The ESIA was disclosed on 16/10/2020.  No issues were raised by public to date.  Extensive consultations were carried out as part of the project ESIA and implemented in line with EBRD-guidance on consultation during the COVID-19 pandemic.  A national EIA (OVOS) has been prepared for the Project and approved by the Competent Authorities of Uzbekistan.  

The ESDD, undertaken jointly with other lenders, confirmed that the Project is compliant with Uzbek legislation and aligned with EBRD PRs, and the Client has the institutional capacity required to deliver the Project in compliance with the EBRD ESP and requirements of other IFIs and Equator Banks.  The Bank has worked with ACWA Power in the past and to date the company has fully implemented the Bank's requirements.  A detailed Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP) has been developed for the Project and fully agreed with the Client and other Lenders.  The ESIA includes a cumulative impact assessment including consideration of other relevant past, present and reasonably foreseeable developments, which were identified to include the future IFC project and the existing Syrdarya TPP, with three alternative scenarios analysed.  

The key risk is associated with the technology in terms of EU IED/BREF compliance.  Detailed assessment has been undertaken by the Consultant to analyse the proposed technology and associated air emissions, water use, Carbon Capture and Storage provisions and other aspects.  It has been confirmed that the Project will comply with BAT-AELs (Associated Emission Levels) for NOx and CO throughout its operation.  Water cooling technology was also found to be compliant with BAT requirements and application of the Zero Liquid Discharge technology to the CCGT design will not contribute into increase of water intake from the Syrdarya River compared to the existing TPP.  The Project conforms to the guideline Electrical Efficiency values presented in the BREF Note and efficiency characteristics are 'competitive' within the market and representative of modern, high-efficient technology.  At the same time, the project will result in significant CO2 emissions that are estimated as 3,902,000 t per year and the carbon intensity is in the range 338-343 kg CO2/MWh, compared to Uzbekistan grid's carbon intensity of 506 kg/MWh.  Implementation of the Project will enable partial shut-down of the existing capacity at Syrdarya TPP, thus making a contribution to the overall Uzbekistan decarbonisation program.  With the existing Syrdarya TPP's carbon intensity being around 600 kg/MWh, simultaneous closure of four out of ten units with aggregated capacity of 1,170 MW will result in a direct offset of 1,539,000 t of CO2 emissions per annum.  The decommissioning of these units will take place by the 2030 and will follow EBRD E&S guidelines.  At the same time, after the closure of four TPP units, the total cumulative emissions from new CCGT and 6 remaining TPP units will still increase by 468,000 tonnes/year, i.e. 5% increase in CO2 with 40% increase of electricity output.  

As part of the ESIA a biodiversity assessment has been undertaken, with particular focus on avifauna and ichthyofauna, and impacts were assessed to be low and/or temporary.  Series of bird surveys did not identify any species of conservation significant within the Project area; though some species of 'Least Concern' (including migratory species) were identified.  Habitat mapping confirmed that the site did not have any habitats of particular significance for bird species.  Potential impacts to the canal ecology, and in particular - two sensitive fish species, were also assessed and ESIA determined that there is unlikely to be any residual impact on aquatic ecology.  Moreover, the intake design will follow international best practice, including the specification recommendations provided under the World Bank Group EHS Thermal Power Guidelines and will include specific screening, and a limit on intake velocities to prevent fish mortality.  Selected technology and design of CCGT will result in no thermal discharge into the canal.  

The Project will be developed on land owned by the Government of Uzbekistan, but has been leased to local farmers.  Whereas no physical resettlement is required, the Project will impact existing land users, who will be compensated in line with EBRD requirements as detailed in a Livelihood Restoration Framework (LRF), which is the basis for a subsequent Livelihood Restoration Plan (presently in development).  The Project has been subject to extensive stakeholder consultations involving community member and affected parties, as well as wider audience through series of online and offline meetings and presentations, held in line with COVID-19 restrictions.  A cultural heritage assessment has been carried out and no cultural heritage of significance was discovered.  A Chance Finds Procedure will be developed for the construction phase.  The ESDD has confirmed that the project will not result in any significant transboundary environmental impacts and will not trigger Espoo Convention Criteria.  Potential receptors in Tajikistan in terms of noise and air quality were identified during the ESIA process, however modelling indicated that there are unlikely to be any noise impacts and that the impact on ambient air quality in Tajikistan is likely to be beneficial with reduced NO2 concentrations, due to the modernization of the 6 units at the existing Syrdarya Thermal Power Plant (TPP).  No transboundary impacts on water users in Tajikistan will occur, as the Project is not anticipated to have any impacton the Syrdarya River and will not require any change in the amount of water withdrawn from it for the canal, therefore 1988 Sydarya River Agreement is not triggered.  If any new information arises that indicates the potential for transboundary impacts, Lenders will require the Client to notify relevant parties in Tajikistan.  

Other E&S impacts include labour and safety issues, particularly with regard to construction activities, GBVH, contractor and supply chain management, as well as community health and safety related to construction activities and the influx of workers during the constructions phase (for which an Influx Management Plan will be developed).  Project-specific Environmental and Social Management and Monitoring Plan (ESMMP) has been developed as part of ESIA to identify address any potential E&S issues at construction, commissioning and operational phases.

A detailed Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP) has been developed for the Project and fully agreed with the Client.  

Full Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and supplementary disclosure pack, inclusive of the Non-Technical Summary (NTS), Stakeholder Engagement Plan(SEP), Land Acquisition and Livelihood Restoration Framework (LRF) and Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP) has been developed and disclosed 60+ days prior to the Board consideration  and is available at the EBRD site (https://www.ebrd.com/work-with-us/projects/esia/syrdarya-power-project.html) and Client's web-site (https://www.acwapower.com/en/projects/sirdarya-ccgt/). The Bank will monitor the implementation of the Project.

Technical Cooperation and Grant Financing

None

Company Contact Information

Hicham El Maanouni
HElMaanouni@acwapower.com
+971 278 3001
www.acwapower.com

Implementation summary


PSD last updated

27 Jan 2021

Understanding Transition

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

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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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