September 5, 2022

Masdar achieves financial close on 500MW Uzbek wind farm

categories : oil and gas

Masdar, one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, said it has achieved financial close on the 500-MW Zarafshan wind project, the first utility-scale wind farm for Uzbekistan.

An Abu Dhabi-based company, Masdar had entered into bilateral agreements with the Government of Uzbekistan in 2020 to develop, build and operate the Zarafshan wind farm, the largest renewables project in Central Asia.

The project is expected to attract foreign direct investment of more than $600 million, and is part of Uzbekistan’s effort to meet 25% of its electricity needs from renewable sources by the end of the decade.

The announcement was made following a ceremony to mark the occasion, held in Uzbek capital Tashkent. Jamshid Khodjayev, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade, gave the keynote address at the event, which was attended by Masdar Chief Financial Officer Niall Hannigan; Shukhrat Vafaev, Deputy Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade and Sherzod Khodjaev, Uzbekistan’s Deputy Minister of Energy, and other officials.

Lauding the deal close, Vafaev said: 'Uzbekistan is aiming to derive 25% of its energy from renewable sources by 2026, and we are grateful to Masdar and financial institutions who are contributing to this goal through solar, wind, and other renewable energy projects.'

'Going forward, we will continue to work with lenders, development partners, and the private sector to promote renewable energy solutions to fuel Uzbekistan’s green growth,,' he added.

CEO Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi said: 'Today we are celebrating reaching a significant milestone in this landmark project, one that takes Uzbekistan a step closer to achieving its ambitious renewable energy goals. Uzbekistan is a key strategic investment destination for Masdar, and we look forward to continuing to develop and grow our strong portfolio of projects in the nation.'

'This achievement would also not have been possible without the support of our anchor lenders, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), to whom we owe many thanks. We are also especially grateful to Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), whose participation facilitates the diversification of the foreign capital mix being invested into Uzbekistan, both from within the UAE and elsewhere,' he added.

Alongside the anchor lenders for Zarafshan project, the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank, FMO, is acting as B lender, while Etihad Credit Insurance, Natixis and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), are providing credit-insured lending for the project.

Etihad Credit Insurance CEO Massimo Falcioni said: 'With this successful financial closing, Masdar confirms to be one of the fastest-growing renewable energy companies in the world.'

Zarafshan is Masdar’s second utility-scale project in Uzbekistan, with the 100 MW Nur Navoi Solar Project – Uzbekistan’s first successfully-financed independent power producer (IPP) solar project – starting operations last year.

The 500 MW project, which is set to begin commercial operation by the end of 2024, will provide enough electricity to power 500,000 homes, while displacing 1.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

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