The EBRD and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, are supporting the development of sustainable energy sources in Bulgaria, providing €198 million in loans to construct a 156-megawatt wind farm that will help the country promote clean energy and reduce its dependency on fossil fuels.
This project will be the largest wind farm in the country, as well as in Eastern Europe. It will significantly increase Bulgaria’s installed wind generation capacity from 70 megawatts, generating just over 1 percent of the country’s power consumption.
The wind farm, which will be owned and operated by AES Geo Energy OOD, will consist of 52 Vestas wind turbines. The company is a majority-owned subsidiary of the AES Corporation, one of the world’s largest power companies. AES GEO Energy has signed a 12-year Power Purchase Agreement with the National Electricity Company.
Over the past decade, EBRD has played a prominent role in the restructuring and the development of the Bulgarian electricity sector by financing generation and transmission projects, while also being a shareholder in two distribution companies.
Under its Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI) launched in May 2006, EBRD has been actively promoting investments relating to energy efficiency, renewables and clean energy projects across its countries of operation.
Nandita Parshad, EBRD Director for Power and Energy, said: “In these challenging market conditions, the EBRD and IFC’s support for renewable projects and large-scale wind projects in particular is crucial.”
The EBRD is the largest investor in Bulgaria, with more than €1.7 billion committed to projects across the country. Working with its many partners, the Bank has mobilised more than €6 billion for projects in Bulgaria.
In 2007, IFC committed $1.5 billion to key regional industries including financial markets and general manufacturing in Southern Europe and Central Asia. IFC has provided more than $2 billion in financing for wind and other renewable energy projects and recently announced renewable energy and climate change mitigation as new strategic pillars for its investments globally.
The project also underscores the fact that wind farm development can be achieved without compromising environmental best practice. Amongst other environmental commitments, AES has pledged to work with the local authorities and stakeholders to develop a sanctuary for migrating birds close to the project area.
AES has more than 1,000 megawatts of wind capacity in operation globally. In Bulgaria, AES is building the €1.15 billion Maritza East I Power Project, the largest greenfield investment to date in Southeastern Europe in the power sector.