Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company Masdar has reached financial close on a US$600 million onshore wind farm near the city of Zarafshan in Uzbekistan.
The main lenders are the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and International Finance Corporation (IFC).
Also in the loan syndicate are Natixis and First Abu Dhabi Bank, while Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank has provided a US$10 million B-loan. Etihad Credit Insurance is providing cover.
In addition to lending US$52 million, the ADB also signed a sovereign-backed partial credit guarantee of US$19.5 million to mitigate the credit risk of the state-owned offtaker, Joint Stock Company National Electric Grid of Uzbekistan (NEGU).
Masdar chief executive officer Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi says the participation of Etihad Credit Insurance has facilitated the diversification of the foreign capital mix being invested into Uzbekistan, both from within the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere.
Masdar will design, build and operate the 500-megawatt onshore wind plant, which is located in the Navoiy region. The firm signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade and its National Electric Grid in June 2020.
Etihad Credit Insurance CEO Massimo Falcioni says the signing of the project financing comes just few weeks after UAE minister of cabinet affairs Mohammed Al Gergawi led a delegation to Tashkent to sign an extension to the partnership with Uzbekistan, including areas such as the financial sector, education, economy, government leadership, food security and agriculture, and ports and customs.
In December 2021, the UAE government announced that Abu Dhabi energy champions TAQA, ADNOC and Mubadala were joining forces as shareholders in Masdar, creating a global clean energy company that is expected to be a major force in renewables and green hydrogen.
Azerbaijan solar PV project
In August this year Masdar reached financial close for its 230MW Garadagh solar photovoltaic plant in Azerbaijan.
This is Azerbaijan's first foreign-invested independent solar power project, and Masdar’s first project in the country. The project is co-financed by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, ADB, EBRD and JICA.
Azerbaijan is targeting to increase the share of renewable sources in its installed power capacity to at least 30% by 2030, as the country looks to diversify its economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Masdar’s Al Ramahi says the Garadagh project will serve as a benchmark for Azerbaijan’s clean energy transition. In March, he attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the plant, which is expected to start commercial operation in 2023.
Masdar has also signed agreements with Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Energy to develop clean energy projects with a combined capacity of 4 gigawatts in the first phase, with the right to develop an additional 6GW in the second phase.
Masdar signed two implementation agreements in June. One relates to the development of 1GW capacity of onshore wind projects and 1GW of PV projects, and the other covering integrated offshore wind and green hydrogen projects with a capacity of 2GW.