The EBRD is considering providing a €40 million loan to finance the construction and operation of a 60 MW wind farm located in the municipality of Suvorovo in the north-eastern part of Bulgaria about 25km inland from the Black Sea. The project will contribute to the expansion of renewable energy markets in Bulgaria supporting the country in achieving its target of sourcing 16% of its electricity consumed from renewable sources by 2020. It is expected to be operational in the second quarter of 2010.
The transition impact of the project steams primarily from:
The project has the potential to generate demonstration effects of a viable large-scale wind power generation facility financed on a non-recourse project financing basis. This could attract other potential investors and facilitate renewable energy development in Bulgaria and elsewhere under the current difficult market conditions;
- The project has the potential to set higher standards for business conduct through the application of international best practices in Environmental Impact Assessment for developing wind projects in Bulgaria.
EOLICA BULGARIA AD is a special purpose vehicle set up to finance the construction and operation of the Suvorovo Wind Farm in Bulgaria (“the Project”), a 100% owned subsidiary of Eólica Suvorovo EOOD. Eólica Suvorovo EOOD is majority controlled by the renewable energy developer, Grupo Empresarial Enhol, S.L., based in Spain.
Enhol Group has extensive experience in full development of green-field wind power projects with 277MW (13 wind farms) commissioned in Spain between 1998 and 2007. The Group has a pipeline of approximately 1,700MW including 672MW in Central and Eastern European countries. The project is being developed in partnership with Bulgaria’s Balkars Consortium (“BC”).
Long-term debt financing of up to €40 million. The project is expected to be financed along with 2 commercial banks.
Estimated at approximately €100 million.
The construction and operation of a wind farm can be associated with a number of environmental and social issues that can be readily assessed as part of an environmental due diligence.
Following an Initial Environmental and Social Examination (IESE), the project was screened B under the Bank’s Environmental and Social Policy 2008, requiring an Environmental and Social Due Diligence (ESDD). The project classification was based on the location of the site which is not in a sensitive environmental setting, therefore does not fall under Appendix 1 of the Bank's Environmental Policy (2008) requirements.
ESDD by an independent consultancy included a site visit and review of the Project Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and supporting information (e.g. bird studies and land agreements, corporate) Corporate management requirements), ,and information relating to the associated 110KV transmission line connection.
Due diligence confirmed that the project has been structured to meet Bulgarian legislative requirements. The Sponsor has provided an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as required by Bulgarian environmental law and is in the process of obtaining relevant permits. The EIA was subject to Bulgarian public consultation requirements.
As a result of the ESDD, an Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP) was prepared in line with the Bank’s Performance Requirements (PRs) to address both the construction and operational phases of the project.
The project EIA and other related documents are available at the Suvorovo Municipal Office (1, Nezavisimost blvd. 9170 Suvorovo, Bulgaria) and on the Client’s website.
Key Environmental and Social Issues and due diligence results
The Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIA Report) concludes that there will be no significant impacts resulting from the Project and the results of the ESDD largely concur with these findings. However, there are a number of issues which were identified during the ESDD which are as follows:
The project site lies within the western extent of the Via Pontica bird migratory route and the lesser numbers of birds and species recorded during the bird survey in the wider area reflect this. The site itself does not appear to correlate with this wider area activity with far fewer birds observed and recorded flying over the site. ESDD highlighted the need for additional bird surveys during autumn 2009 and spring/summer 2010 to strengthen the existing baseline information to provide further site specific information to support the EIA findings. The results of the surveys will be reviewed by an independent specialist to confirm whether a Collision Risk Assessment (CRA) is required to quantify the risks and revise the mitigation measures proposed.
The site is not located within a designated or protected area; however the EIA reported that the European Ground Squirrel which is a priority species in the Habitats Directive was identified in the vicinity and as a result the location of two turbines was changed. As information within the EIA report was based on a desk top study, ESDD identified the need for a site survey prior to construction starting to ensure that burrows are avoided.
Although some element of EHS and HR management systems are in place at the corporate level, these are not in yet in place for the Project. Efforts are already underway by the Project to address the need to provide relevant policies and procedures.
The Project has been undertaken thus far in compliance with Bulgarian statutory requirements and EBRD’s Performance Requirements in respect of public consultation and disclosure. It also complies with the relevant requirements of the Aarhus Convention. The client has produced a Stakeholder Engagement Plan (SEP), which captures the key consultations undertaken thus far and sets out how consultations will be undertaken for the duration of the Project from pre-construction through to operation.
Environmental and Social Opportunities
This Wind Farm project provides an opportunity to generate carbon free electricity. The Sponsor has registered the Company and will pay taxes to the Municipality and therefore provide money to spend locally. A letter of intent has also been provided to the Municipality with commitments to use local companies and labour where possible, to fund social and cultural activities and two university scholarships.
Summary of Environmental and Social Action Plan
An Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP) has been agreed with the Sponsor to ensure that the Project will fully comply with EBRD’s Performance Requirements. The ESAP includes requirements for: the implementation of a Social and Environmental Management and Monitoring Systems (SEMS) and a Health and Safety Management System; additional on-site surveys for birds and flora and fauna; the implementation of the SEP and publicising of the grievance mechanism.
The Sponsor will be required to provide an annual environmental and social report to the Lenders, including updates on the bird monitoring undertaken, implementation of the agreed ESAP, and notification on any material accidents or incidents.
Julia Saez Bea, Project Finance Director:
Boris Bakalov, Project Manager
28 Bacho Kiro Str.
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Tel: +44 20 7338 7168
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Text of the PIP
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 how to submit a Request for review through our confidential online form, by email, mail or telephone. IPAM is available to discuss your concerns and answer any questions you may have about the submission or handling of Requests, which follow the Project Accountability Policy and Guidance. Requestors’ identities may be kept confidential, upon request.