Egyptian solar power plant backed by international financing

12 May 2021

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development(EBRD),the OPEC Fund,the African Development Bank(AfDB),the Green Climate Fund(GCF) and Arab Bank have signed a $114m financing package with ACWA Power for the construction of the largest private solar plant in Egypt.

The development of the Kom Ombo solar plant will add 200 MW of energy capacity, increasing the share of renewable energy in Egypt’s energy mix and further promoting private-sector participation in the Egyptian power sector.

The package comprises loans of up to $36m from the EBRD, $18m from the OPEC Fund, $17.8m from the AfDB, $23.8 m from the GCF and $18 m from Arab Bank. This is in addition to equity bridge loans of up to $14m from EBRD and $33.5 m from Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP).

The new Kom Ombo plant will be located less than 20 km from Africa’s biggest solar park, the 1.8 GW Benban complex. Once operational, the new utility-scale plant will serve 130,000 households.

ACWA Power submitted the lowest tariff in what was the first solar photovoltaic (PV) tender in Egypt. The provision of solar energy through a public tendering process aims to achieve a competitive tariff and promote the growth of solar energy as an affordable alternative to conventional energy sources.

Private-sector participation in the Kom Ombo project is the result of successful policy dialogue with the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy and the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), as well as a $ 3.6m technical assistance programme, co-funded by the EBRD and the GCF, to support the EETC in administering competitive renewable energy tenders. In addition, the project has also benefitted from broader energy-sector reforms supported by the AfDB in recent years to scale up the involvement of the private sector.

EBRD President Odile Renaud Basso said: “We are very happy to team up again with ACWA Power in Egypt, after our successful partnership in Benban, to promote renewable energy in Egypt. Increasing the production of clean energy is an important step to reducing carbon emissions and addressing climate change. This is in line with the EBRD’s strategy to become a majority green bank by 2025. This project also marks the EBRD’s first co-financing project with the AfDB and the OPEC Fund in Egypt and we look forward to future joint investment opportunities for our institutions across Africa.”

OPEC Fund Director-General Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said: “We are pleased to contribute to Egypt’s efforts and strategy to expand its generation capacity in the renewable energy space. We have been at the forefront of advocating access to affordable clean energy for many years. Kom Ombo will be our third project with ACWA Power and it exemplifies a great cooperation between government, development finance and private-sector actors.”

“The Kom Ombo solar project is a truly remarkable transaction. It not only clearly demonstrates the indisputable competitiveness of solar PV vis-à-vis conventional sources of generation, but it also contributes directly to the realisation of Egypt’s ambitious renewable energy targets, in addition to being an excellent example of what stakeholders driven by a shared objective can achieve,” said AfDB Vice President of Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth Kevin Kariuki.

 

Paddy Padmanathan, President and Chief Executive Officer of ACWA Power, said: “ACWA Power is privileged and proud to lead the realisation of the Kom Ombo PV project. The financing package signed brings us closer to not only the people and the government of Egypt, but also to our finance partners, the EBRD, AfDB, the OPEC Fund, the GCF and Arab Bank, reflecting our shared objective of supporting the energy transition to address the threat of climate change. Kom Ombo PV is the fourth project in ACWA Power’s Egyptian portfolio and the conclusion of this financing demonstrates the confidence in the Egyptian government’s ambitious renewable energy plans, being implemented through private-sector participation.”

Yannick Glemarec, Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund, said: “The GCF is proud to support implementation of Egypt’s ambitious renewable energy financing framework. $154.7m in GCF resources, including $23.8m for the Kom Ombo plant, catalyses over $850m in co-financing and unleashes the first wave of private renewable energy projects in Egypt. The GCF looks forward to continuing to support the government of Egypt in delivering on its ambitious climate targets through innovative partnerships with the private sector.”

The Kom Ombo plant will contribute to the Egyptian government’s target to generate 42 % of the country’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2035 while delivering one of the lowest generation tariffs on the continent.


The protagonists

The European bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

EBRD is a multilateral bank that promotes the development of the private sector and entrepreneurial initiative in 38 economies on three continents. The Bank is owned by 69 countries, as well as the European Union and the European Investment Bank. EBRD investments are aimed at making its investee economies competitive, inclusive, well-governed, green, resilient and integrated.

Arab Bank

Arab Bank headquartered in Amman, Jordan, has one of the largest global Arab banking networks with over 600 branches spanning five continents. Arab Bank provides a wide range of financial products and services for individuals, corporations and other financial institutions. Arab Bank’s extensive network covers key financial markets and centres such as London, Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai, Geneva, Paris, Frankfurt, Sydney and Bahrain

ACWA Power

ACWA Power is a developer, investor and operator of power generation and desalinated water production plants. Registered and established in 2004 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, it employs about 3,500 people and is currently present in 13 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia and south-east Asia. The portfolio includes 62 assets with an investment value of $65bn producing 42 GW of power and 5.8 million m3/day of desalinated water, delivered on a bulk basis to address the needs of state utilities and industries on long-term, off-take contracts under utility services outsourcing and PPP models. ACWA Power’s mission is to reliably deliver electricity and desalinated water at a low cost, thereby making an effective contribution to the sustainable, social and economic development of communities and countries. The company is committed to the values of safety, people and performance in operating its business in all regions.

OPEC Fund

The OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund) is the only globally mandated development institution that provides financing from member countries to non-member countries exclusively.  The organisation works in cooperation with developing country partners and the international development community to stimulate economic growth and social progress in low- and middle-income countries around the world. The OPEC Fund was established by the member countries of OPEC in 1976 with a distinct purpose: to drive development, strengthen communities and empower people.  The work is people centric, focusing on financing projects that meet essential needs, such as food, energy, infrastructure, employment (particularly relating to MSMEs), clean water and sanitation, healthcare and education. To date, the OPEC Fund has committed more than $22bn to development projects in over 125 countries with an estimated total project cost of $187bn. The OPEC vision is a world where sustainable development is a reality for all.

Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP)

Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP) is a multilateral development bank established on 23 November 1975 under the terms of an agreement signed by the ten Member States of the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC).

 

African Development Bank Group (AfDB)

The African Development Bank Group is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the AfDB, the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 41 African countries, with an external office in Japan, it contributes to the economic development and social progress of its 54 regional member states.

Green ClimateFund (GCF)

Green Climate Fund (GCF), established in 2010, is part of the financial mechanism of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and serves in the same function for the Paris Agreement. It aims to make an ambitious contribution for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and its mitigation and adaptation goals by supporting the paradigm shift in developing countries towards low-carbon and climate-resilient development pathways. The GCF is currently the world’s largest dedicated multilateral climate fund and the main multilateral financing mechanism to support developing countries in achieving a reduction of their greenhouse gas emissions and an enhancement of their ability to respond to climate change.