EDPR gets funding for plants in Romania

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Valued at €30 million, the deal is composed of a loan of €20 million from the EBRD and a €10 million credit facility from its partner. The money will be used to build six facilities within Oltenia in southern Romania. It will be the seventh project finance for EDPR in Eastern Europe, the cumulative value of which will stand at €505 million. The EBRD and EDPR have previously worked together on three wind farm projects within Romania. The country’s renewables market has received €169 million in funding from the EBRD since 1991. The current solar energy capacity of Romania is 1,158 MW.

Rui Teixeira, CFO of EDPR, said, "The success in completing this financing agreement is once again a third party assessment of EDPR competences in developing quality assets. EDPR strategy encompasses adding quality assets to its portfolio and maintaining a sound financial position, and third-party financing – through a strong relationship with the consortium of banks – supports EDPR strategy.”

EDPR has had a presence in Romania for a number of years. In 2012, it began construction on 39 MW of solar projects alongside its country partner the Renovatio Group. That deal followed a 2008 purchase of an 85% stake in Renovatio’s 800 MW wind pipeline. Today, EDPR co-owns with Renovatio nearly 350 MW of wind projects in Romania.

Riccardo Puliti, managing director for energy and natural resources at the EBRD, said recently, “The financing of the EDPR solar project is the third transaction completed in Romania’s energy sector since the beginning of 2014. Including the EDPR Solar project, we have already invested close to €200 million in the Romanian energy sector this year.”

Romania’s faltering solar market

The solar market within Romania has recently endured a period in which it has seemed to falter. Ernst & Young’s February 2013 Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices report was appraisive of the country’s domestic market, saying, “Romania’s solar market has continued to show high levels of market activity, reinforcing the attractiveness of the sector and supporting projections that indicate it will experience strong growth through 2013. The national energy regulator estimates 500 MW to 1,000 MW will be installed by the end of the year. EDP, Portugal’s largest utility, has chosen Romania to develop its first solar parks worldwide, with 39MW planned for Q1 2013. While the Government may reduce the level of solar subsidies during a review this year, they are likely to remain attractive.”

However, a year on, that view has soured with the most recent report stating that it – along with Poland – had lost its “sparkle”. The report went on, “With both markets poised for a solar boom on the back of generous green certificate allocations, policy U-turns saw Romania freeze and then cut its subsidies, while Poland is to abandon its revised green certificate scheme in favor of an auction process. Whether they are able to bounce back in 2014 remains to be seen.”

The transaction financial close for the long-term contracted debt facility is set to occur by the end of July 2014.