Empower Solar

Location:

Regional

Project number:

53064

Business sector:

Energy

Notice type:

Private

Environmental category:

B

Approval date:

20 Jul 2022

Status:

Approved

PSD disclosed:

15 Jun 2022

Project Description

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.

Project Objectives

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.

Transition Impact

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).

Client Information

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

USD 10,000,000.00

Total Project Cost

USD 70,000,000.00

Additionality

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

N/A

Company Contact Information

Susie Scannelli Cook
contact@empowernewenergy.com
+44 7759 21214
Snarøyveien 20, 1360 Fornebu, Oslo, Norway

Implementation summary


PSD last updated

23 Jun 2022

Understanding Transition

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

Business opportunities

For business opportunities or procurement, contact the client company.

For business opportunities with EBRD (not related to procurement) contact:

Tel: +44 20 7338 7168
Email: projectenquiries@ebrd.com

For state-sector projects, visit EBRD Procurement:

Tel: +44 20 7338 6794
Email: procurement@ebrd.com

General enquiries

Specific enquiries can be made using the EBRD Enquiries form.

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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