Samarkand Solar Revolving Facility

Location:

Uzbekistan

Project number:

53873

Business sector:

Energy

Notice type:

Private

Environmental category:

B

Approval date:

23 Feb 2023

Status:

Approved

PSD disclosed:

19 Jan 2023

Project Description

A revolving facility to finance quarterly VAT payments during the construction of 220 MW solar power project in the Samarkand region of Uzbekistan.

Project Objectives

The project will contribute to the strategic priority of the government of Uzbekistan to  increase the share of renewable projects in the national energy mix. It will contribute to the mitigation of climate change impact by adding 220 MW of solar generation capacity to the national energy system and will assist the country in its low-carbon transition drive.

Transition Impact

ETI score: 80

The transition impact stems from the potential contribution of the project to the EBRD Green Economy Transition ("GET") approach as it will allow producing electricity using solar power, which will reduce the country's current high reliance on thermal power generation.

The transition impact of the Project is expected to come also from its contribution to the currently state-dominated power sector in Uzbekistan by adding a new private entrant.

Client Information

NUR SAMARKAND SOLAR PV FE LLC

The Borrower is an Uzbek Project SPV fully owned by Masdar.

Sponsor: Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company PJSC - Masdar (Masdar), a global leader in renewable energy and sustainable urban development. It was established in 2006 as a strategic government initiative to invest, incubate and establish new energy industry in Abu Dhabi and around the world.

EBRD Finance Summary

USD 19,500,000.00

Total Project Cost

USD 202,000,000.00

Additionality

Financing Structure: the EBRD offers financing that is not available in the market from commercial sources on reasonable terms and conditions, e.g. a longer grace period and flexible revolving credit facilities to support VAT financing. Such financing is necessary to structure the project.

Risk mitigation: the EBRD's long-term relationship with a client provides comfort to the client to be willing to take on more risk and/or finance, enabling outcomes such as innovation or expansion into new markets.

Environmental and Social Summary

The Project has been Categorised B in accordance with EBRD's Environmental and Social Policy (ESP) 2019. An Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) has been completed by the Sponsor's consultants and Environmental and Social Due Diligence (ESDD) has included a review of the environmental and social documentation by the Lender's independent E&S Consultant (LESC).

The draft ESIA and associated documentation, including Non-Technical Summary (NTS), Stakeholder Engagement Plan (SEP) and Livelihood Restoration Plan (LRP) has been disclosed in December 2022 by the Sponsor on the Project website (https://masdar.ae/Masdar-Clean-Energy/Projects/Samarkand-Solar-Project) and has been communicated via electronic and social media to local stakeholders which will be followed by physical copies, for a public consultation period with consultation activities to be undertaken as outlined in the SEP. Results of the ESDD undertaken by EBRD, the wider Lender group and the LESC, are summarised below and conclude that the Project is structured to comply with the EBRD Performance Requirements (PRs).

It is understood that a site selection process was undertaken prior to the Sponsor securing the Project by the Government of Uzbekistan, with support from international consultants as part of preparations for the Project auction. A review of the site against typical criteria used for selection of solar projects indicates that the site selection process has balanced environmental and social and other factors and largely avoided key E&S impacts due to the site's distance from designated biodiversity areas and avoidance of significant economic displacement, predicted impacts can be mitigated and the site location is not considered materially sub-optimal from an E&S perspective.

The majority of impacts are currently expected to be site-specific and mitigated through the measures outlined in the ESIA and through the implementation of an Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP) which has been agreed in principle with the Sponsor and will be finalised prior to Board approval. The Borrower is fully owned by the Sponsor who has the capacity to implement the Project in accordance with the PRs.

The area of land required for the solar photo-voltaic (PV) site is 438ha and is located in modified habitat on recently cultivated agricultural land in Ishtihan district. The site is not located in a protected area. The 4.5km 220kV new Overhead Transmission Line (OHL) crosses intensively cultivated agricultural landscape in Kattakurgan district connecting to the existing Ishtihan sub-station. The Critical Habitat and Priority Biodiversity Features (PBFs) assessment undertaken for the Project notes that the PV site supports a very low population of the Central Asian Tortoise and could potentially support one other reptile species both classified as PBFs, for which No Net Loss (NNL) is required to be achieved through a combination of mitigation measures including pre-construction translocation, adapted fencing and offset of lost habitat through restoration of the available modified habitat within the PV site.

The Project is not located on a major bottle-neck or geographical feature that would concentrate migrating bird species and does not contain features which would attract migrating or over-wintering birds. The site and OHL are located in proximity to three areas which are important wintering habitat for Great Bustards (IUCN VU; UzRL CR) during cold winters. Although, no birds were observed in the closest area (20km from the OHL) in recent surveys and the habitats on the PV site or OHL route are unlikely to be of significant importance, the airspace occupied by the OHL is classified as critical habitat on a pre-cautionary basis, however there is a low likelihood that the OHL would cause significant impacts on this population. Several other species of soaring birds present in low numbers have been assessed as PBFs and operational phase collision risk will be mitigated by the installation of bird diverters. A post-construction fatality monitoring programme will be in place for these bird species. Since bird diverters are not fully effective for the Great Bustard which remains susceptible to collision risk, offset measures focussing on a reduction of poaching (currently identified as the biggest threat to this species) will be developed and implement to ensure a Net Gain (NG). The Sponsor will be required to develop and disclose a Biodiversity Action Plan to elaborate on the offset strategies and monitoring of mitigation and offset measures proposed in the ESIA including further consultation on these measures with recognised stakeholders in avian conservation, to demonstrate NNL/NG for CH and PBFs.

No physical resettlement is required and the final route and tower location for the OHL have been selected in consultation with leaseholders to avoid structures and higher value crops where possible. Livelihood impacts are anticipated at the PV site, since the area was recently used by 5 leaseholders where leases were terminated for Project purposes prior to involvement of the Sponsor. An audit of the historical land acquisition has identified gaps against Lenders' standards which will be addressed in the form of additional compensation for affected agricultural assets and provision of livelihood restoration measures including a specific land enhancement grant and technical assistance to improve the capacity of leaseholders remaining land. The site also provides relatively high-quality grazing and is used by five community herds and as a supply of vegetation used for winter livestock feed. Livelihood restoration measures proposed include securing and enhancing alternative community grazing land, maintaining access to the project site to continue feed collection and development of feed storage facilities as well as specific measures for affected herders. Compensation for temporary and permanent impacts to 4 leaseholders along the OHL will also be provided. A draft Livelihood Restoration Plan (LRP) has been developed and disclosed for the PV site and the OHL covering historical and future impacts and will be subject to finalisation in consultation with affected people.

The remaining project impacts are anticipated to be generally restricted to the construction phase and mitigated with good practice environmental and social mitigation measures. The ESIA includes the Project's framework Environmental and Social Management and Monitoring Plan (ESMMP) which includes such mitigation and monitoring measures and responsibilities through the project life-cycle. These measures will be incorporated into the Project's Environmental and Social Management System through Construction and Operational Environmental and Social Management Plans. The Engineering Procurement and Construction and Operation and Maintenance contractors will also be required to develop and implement a range of management plans consistent with the requirements of the ESMMP.

Traffic impacts to and from the site will be managed through selection of final site access roads to minimise safety and disturbance impacts and implementation of a traffic management plan. Workforce will either be accommodated in large population centres where sufficient capacity and infrastructure exists or a dedicated workforce camp will be developed. All accommodation will be managed in accordance with a Workforce Accommodation Management plan consistent with IFC/EBRD guidance. Given peak workforce numbers of approximately 500 during the short construction period, a Local Hiring Plan will be developed to maximise employment opportunities for local communities. In addition, measures to mitigate potential influx of people and Gender Based Violence and Harassment (GBVH) risks will be implemented. The Sponsor will also develop and implement a Community Development Plan in consultation with the local communities that aims to provide a range of benefits, particularly to communities subject to land access restrictions to offset any residual impacts. A cemetery and mosque is located adjacent to the PV site, however access will remain available during construction and operation and consultations have been conducted and will continue with users and the local authorities.

Enhanced supply chain due diligence has been conducted for the solar components in accordance with the Management Approach for Solar Supply Chain Risk Management. The Sponsor has provided evidence of a functioning supply chain management system including a number of policies and position statements stating that the Sponsor has a zero tolerance to labour violations. The supply chain for this particular Project, to polysilicon, has been mapped and will be verified by an independent consultant for point of origin. The Financing Agreement and ESAP require the Sponsor and the Borrower to maintain due diligence and management procedures for the sourcing of solar modules in accordance with Good International Practice. Due to the size of the Project there are a number of potential suppliers of solar modules, all of which have provided supply chain maps to the polysilicon level and all of which have been subject to enhanced due diligence.

The Project will be monitored regularly by independent Environmental and Social consultants to ensure compliance with the ESAP and the Performance Requirements.

Technical Cooperation and Grant Financing

N/A

Company Contact Information

Carlos Ponte
cponte@masdar.ae
http://www.masdar.ae
PO Box 54115, Abu Dhabi, UAE

PSD last updated

19 Jan 2023

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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