Financing for one of the largest wind power projects in mainland Europe has been agreed by the project’s shareholders and lenders at a ceremony in the Serbian capital of Belgrade.
Due for completion in the first half of 2019, the 158 megawatt (MW) capacity Čibuk 1 wind farm will be the largest utility-scale commercial wind project in Serbia and the Western Balkans.
Agreements for the financing of Čibuk 1 were signed in the presence of His Excellency Aleksandar Vučić, President of the Republic of Serbia.
Also witnessing the signing were HE Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Mubadala Investment Company; HE Juma Rashed Al Dhaheri, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the Republic of Serbia; Khaled Abdulla Al Qubaisi, Chief Executive Officer of Mubadala’s Aerospace, Renewables & Information Communications Technology platform; Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar; and Fabrizio Cagnasso, Managing Director of Čibuk Wind Holding.
Vetroelektrane Balkana (WEBG), the project company behind Čibuk 1, is wholly owned by Tesla Wind, a 60:40 joint venture between Masdar, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company and Čibuk Wind Holding.
Signing on behalf of the lenders were Harry Boyd-Carpenter, Director of Power and Energy Utilities of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Thomas Lubeck, Regional Manager, Central and Southeastern Europe for International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The financing of the 300 million euro wind farm also includes the B lenders Banca Intesa, Erste Bank, UniCredit, and The Green for Growth Fund.
“We would like to thank the Government of Serbia, Mubadala Investment Company, as well as the lenders, advisors, and all the other parties involved in reaching this critical milestone,” said Mohamed Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar. “The development of the largest wind farm in Serbia and the Western Balkans is a pivotal moment for the expansion of renewables in the region and positions Serbia at the forefront of Europe’s fastest growing alternative energy sector. At Masdar, we are proud to have this opportunity to contribute our expertise and experience acquired over the last 11 years to the diversification of Serbia’s energy mix, working alongside our joint-venture partners.”
Harry Boyd-Carpenter, EBRD Director of Power and Energy Utilities, commented: “The Čibuk wind farm is a breakthrough for Serbia as the country works to meet its commitment to produce 27 per cent of domestic power needs from renewable energy sources by 2020. The EBRD has worked closely with the government to develop and refine the regulatory framework for the sector and these efforts have now unlocked job-generating foreign investment and the first wave of renewable energy projects.”
Thomas Lubeck, IFC’s Regional Manager for Central and Southeastern Europe, said: “This project highlights IFC’s creating markets strategy, paving the way for other renewable energy projects. It is a result of our cooperation with all stakeholders and our work with Serbia’s government to improve relevant bylaws and the model power purchase agreement. IFC is a global leader in facilitating cross border investments and our support for renewable energy is a key part of our work to help mitigate climate change.”
Covering an area of 37 square kilometres, Čibuk 1 will be built around 50 kilometres outside Belgrade in the autonomous province of Vojvodina. Comprising 57 of GE Renewable Energy’s 2.75-120 wind turbines, the project is expected to electrify an estimated 113,000 homes on delivery and displace more than 370,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. GE Renewable Energy will provide the manufacturing, delivery, installation, and commissioning of the turbines, with a 15-year full service agreement.
Serbia has pledged to produce 27 per cent of its domestic power needs from renewable energy sources by 2020, reducing the country’s dependence coal-fired power generation in line with European Union regulations.
Besides helping to minimise the environmental impacts of Serbia’s power sector, Čibuk 1 is expected to create as many as 400 local jobs during construction while also delivering 50 kilometres of new roads.
On completion, Čibuk 1 will be Masdar’s fourth wind farm in Europe after the 630MW London Array, the world’s largest offshore wind farm in operation, the 402MW Dudgeon offshore wind farm in England, and Hywind Scotland, a 30MW floating wind power development situated near the coast of Aberdeenshire.
Masdar has implemented various renewable energy projects since its launch in 2006 – in photovoltaic solar power, solar thermal energy and wind power – in the UK, mainland Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and the Pacific Islands.