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Acwa Power closes financing for US$533 million Uzbekistan project
EBRD to provide bulk of loan for 200MW solar plant and battery storage system
Michael Marray 10 Jul 2024

Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power has announced the financial close for the US$533 million Tashkent Riverside project in Uzbekistan, which includes a 200-megawatt solar plant and the largest battery energy storage system (BESS) in Central Asia.

Financing documents were signed with six lenders, including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Islamic Development Bank, DEG, French development agency Proparco, Standard Chartered, and KfW-IPEX Bank. The total debt provided is US$386 million, or two-thirds of the total project cost.

The bulk of the financing is being provided by EBRD to Acwa Power Riverside Solar, a special purpose company fully owned by Acwa Power.

The EBRD portion will consist of a US$183.5 million A-loan for the EBRD account and a US$40.5 million B-loan to be syndicated to commercial co-financiers. The EBRD is also mobilizing concessional finance of up to €5 million (US$5.4 million) from Finland under the EBRD’s High Impact Partnership on Climate Action.

Uzbekistan is Acwa Power’s second-largest market for investments. The Saudi company’s current portfolio in Uzbekistan includes 11.6 gigawatts of power, of which 10.1GW is renewable, and the country’s first green hydrogen project with a capacity of 3,000 tonnes per year.

"The project is core to Uzbekistan's ambition to install 25GW of renewables by 2030," says Nandita Parshad, managing director, sustainable infrastructure group, at EBRD. "This project can power 170,000 households and the battery storage capacity is equivalent to 8,000 electric vehicles.”

The BESS will help mitigate the effects of intermittency that are inherent in renewable energy sources, storing excess electricity generated during times of high production and making it available during periods of low production. This will ensure a constant and reliable supply of electricity to the grid, ultimately helping to meet the growing demand for energy in Uzbekistan.

Acwa Power recently signed a landmark US$4.85 billion power purchase agreement with the National Electric Grid of Uzbekistan for Central Asia’s largest wind farm – the 5GW Wind Independent Power Producer (IPP) project in the Karakalpakstan region.

In 2023, Uzbekistan was the leading recipient of EBRD funding in Central Asia for the fourth year in a row. To date, the bank has invested €4.7 billion in 162 projects across the country, with most of those funds supporting private entrepreneurship.

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