EBRD financing of Baikonur solar plant in Kazakhstan moving closer

ASTANA (TCA) — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has signed a mandate letter for the co-financing of a new solar power plant in Kazakhstan near the world-famous space centre in Baikonur, the Bank said on June 21.

The Baikonur Solar park, with a capacity of up to 50 MW, will be located in the Kyzylorda region. The clean energy will feed the neighbouring high-voltage lines that serve the nearby area including the city of Kyzylorda.

In addition, the EBRD and the government of Kazakhstan have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will open the country’s renewable energy market to a wider range of investors working under the EBRD’s dedicated framework.

The agreements reached in the MoU represent a major step forward for renewables in a country with a nascent renewables sector but with ambitious targets for a green economy and clean energy.

The MoU was signed by the Minister of Energy of Kazakhstan, Kanat Bozumbayev, and EBRD Director in Kazakhstan Agris Preimanis. The signing took place in the presence of Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Bakhytzhan Sagintayev on June 21, a day before the Foreign Investors’ Council was due to gather in Astana to discuss the topic of “New Energy”.

The new solar plant, which may receive EBRD financing of up to US$ 28 million, will be built by Samruk Kazyna United Green Energy Ltd, a joint venture between UG Energy Ltd, a privately owned investment company registered in the United Kingdom, and Samruk-Kazyna Invest, a division of Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund.

The mandate letter setting out preliminary terms and conditions for the Baikonur Solar park was signed by Agris Preimanis and by Albrecht Frischenschlager, Investment Director of UG Group.

For Kazakhstan, the EBRD has in place a comprehensive €200 million framework for renewable energy financing. The potential Baikonur Solar project, as well as all future renewable energy projects covered by the new MoU, will come under this framework.

Agris Preimanis said: “Today’s signings are further proof that renewable energy is taking hold here. As the largest financier and a staunch supporter of reform in the area of renewable energy, both in Kazakhstan and our entire region, the EBRD stands ready to work with the government and investors on further improvements in the business climate for renewable energy, especially as Kazakhstan is preparing to move to a more market-friendly auction system.”

Sergey Kwan