Podcast: Lighting Up Thailand
Reclassify | Mar 25 2015

One of the winners of 2014’s UN Momentum for Change awards, Wandee Khunchornyakong, has been transforming Thailand’s renewable energy capacity with utility-scale solar farms. Listen here. 

EBRD supports Turkey’s shift to renewable energy
In the News | Feb 17 2015

Turkey has taken an important step towards reaching its 2023 renewable energy targets thanks to support from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). In a move to grow the share of renewables in the country’s energy mix, increase security of energy supply and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources has developed – with the support of the EBRD – Turkey’s first National Renewable Energy Action Plan in line with the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive.

Ukraine, World Bank sign credit agreement worth $378.4 mln to upgrade power grid
In the News | Feb 10 2015

Ukraine and the World Bank have signed a credit agreement worth $378.425 million to implement the Second Power Transmission Project. An Interfax-Ukraine correspondent has reported that the document was signed by Energy and Coal Industry Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Demchyshyn and World Bank Country Director for Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine Qimiao Fan on Tuesday. The loan includes $330 million from the World Bank and $48.425 million from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF).

ADB loans $85m to Thai wind project
In the News | Jan 26 2015

The Chaiyaphum project is being developed in the north east of the country by a special-purpose joint venture, 90% owned by Thai independent power producer Electricity Generating Public Company (EGCO), and 10% by German renewables developer Pro Ventum. ADB will provide a local currency loan of up to THB 1,807 million ($55 million) and $30 million from the ADB-administered Clean Technology Fund.


EBRD,Kazakhstan to modernise municipal infrastructure in main city
In the News | Jan 05 2015

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is launching an integrated approach to modernize municipal infrastructure facilities in Kyzylorda, the capital of the Kyzylorda region in southern Kazakhstan.

Several financing agreements, worth over US$ 70 million in total, were signed at the Bank’s Headquarters in London by EBRD President, Sir Suma Chakrabarti, and the Akim of Kyzylorda Oblast, Krymbek Kusherbayev, on December 18 .

The Bank reported that the funds will be used to finance improvements in water and wastewater, heating, electricity and street lighting.

Chakrabarti said at the signing: “We are proud of our cooperation with the authorities of Kyzylorda Oblast and that our Enhanced Partnership Framework Arrangement with the government of Kazakhstan enables us to scale up our work to improve lives in Kazakhstan, including in Kyzylorda. During my last visit to Kyzylorda, I was impressed by the regional authorities’ work on progressing the modernisation agenda, and I am glad that the Bank is signing these projects today.”

Kusherbayev , in turn, said: “We are very pleased with the high level of cooperation with the EBRD. We hope the Kyzylorda region will take a central place in the Bank’s activities in Kazakhstan.”

The EBRD will provide financing to three municipal companies in the city of Kyzylorda.
Up to US$ 10 million will be lent to Kyzylorda Su Zhuyesi, a municipal water management company, to rehabilitate and upgrade its infrastructure network. The project will result in better water and wastewater services, greater energy and water efficiency, reduced losses and improved environmental standards.

In addition, up to US$ 24 million, comprising an EBRD tranche of up to US$ 18.5 million and a tranche of up to US$ 5.5 million from the Clean Technology Fund, will be lent to Kyzylordateploelektrocentr, a municipal district heating and electricity production company. The financing will not only help to modernise the district heating network and production facilities, but will also introduce individual building-level heating substations to improve energy efficiency, cut losses and reduce CO2 emissions.

Lastly, up to KZT 4.5 billion (US$ 24.7 million equivalent) will be lent to the Kyzylorda Regional Electricity Company, a power utility company responsible for distributing electricity to the entire Kyzylorda region. Funds will be used to modernise the electricity distribution network, including installing modern metering and automated control systems, and upgrading electricity transformers and distribution lines. The project is expected to cut annual electricity losses by 30 million kWh, which is the equivalent of 30,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The Bank is also considering lending up to KZT 2.3 billion (US$ 12.5 million equivalent) for modern, energy efficient street lighting in the city of Kyzylorda. The EBRD has already signed a pre-financing agreement with the oblast and city authorities to start preparing the project.

This wide-ranging modernization programme in Kyzylorda is also supported by the government of Kazakhstan, which is providing a grant of up to KZT 3.9 billion (US$ 21.7 million equivalent) to co-finance water and district heating modernisation projects. This support comes as part of the Enhanced Partnership Framework Arrangement, which was signed between the Bank and the government of Kazakhstan in May this year.

To date, the EBRD has invested over US$ 6.7 billion in Kazakhstan’s economy.

Originally published here

Sky Solar Announces Project Financing Packages
In the News | Dec 22 2014

The Board of Directors of the IDB approved a financing package for the Arica 1 plant that consists of (i) a loan to Sky Solar's subsidiary, Arica Solar Generación 1, Ltda., of US$27.7 million from the ordinary capital of the IDB (the "IDB Loan"), (ii) a loan of up to half the amount of the IDB Loan, or US$13.9 million, from the China Fund for Latin America and the Caribbean (the "China Fund"), and (iii) a loan of US$8.5 million from the Clean Technology Fund (the "CTF"). The final commercial terms for the loans have not yet been decided. 

Nepali company seeks to develop hydroelectric generation facilities greater than 25 MW
In the News | Dec 19 2014

On Dec. 17, Hydroelectricity Development & Investment Co. Ltd. (HIDCL) announced it is seeking to lead development of hydroelectric projects in Nepal that have a generating capacity greater than 25 MW. HIDCL is based in Babarmahal, Kathmandu, Nepal. Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) formally registered HIDCL in July 2011, as one of several Nepali organizations approved to receive its investment funds for use to develop hydroelectric generation facilities. According to SREP, state-owned HIDCL has an authorized capital of US$790 million, and existing capital of US$63.2 million. HIDCL said it is authorized to invest US$158 million in hydropower projects above 25 MW.

EBRD finances its first wind farm in Kazakhstan
In the News | Dec 04 2014
50 MW wind power project in Yereymentau will road-test new renewables legislation which EBRD helped develop

In a landmark project for Kazakhstan’s renewables industry, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting the first large-scale wind farm in the country to be financed under the new feed-in-tariff mechanism.
The EBRD and the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) will finance the construction, connection to the power transmission grid, commissioning and launch of a greenfield 50 MW wind power plant located in Yereymentau in central Kazakhstan.
The EBRD will provide a KZT 14 billion (€59.2 million) loan to Wind Power Yereymentau, a special purpose vehicle incorporated in Kazakhstan, while up to €18 million of concessional financing will be provided by the CTF. The loan will be guaranteed by JSC Samruk-Energo, Kazakhstan’s national energy company and the ultimate owner of the company.
Yereymentau Wind Park will be the first power sector project in Kazakhstan to receive CTF funding. “Signing of this Loan Agreement is in line with the Kazakhstan’s low-carbon economy agenda.  This year we are completing the construction of the first wind farm with 45 MW of capacity.  Our partnership with the EBRD and the CTF will enable us to increase capacity up to 95 MW” - says Almassadam Satkaliyev, Chairman of the Management Board of JSC Samruk-Energo.  “The partnership between EBRD and CTF on financing this first wind farm project in Kazakhstan under the new feed-in-tariff mechanism demonstrates the contribution that climate finance can make to move renewable energy into the mainstream”- adds Mafalda Duarte, Program Manager of the Climate Investment Funds.
The wind power plant is expected to offset 120,000 tons of CO2 per annum, an equivalent of 450 return flights from Astana to Almaty, in a country still dominated by coal-fired power generation.  Most of the electricity, over 70 per cent, produced in Kazakhstan today is still generated by coal-fired power plants benefiting from easily accessible local coal reservoirs.
However, Kazakhstan is seen as one of the most promising countries in the CIS for both wind and photovoltaic energy investments.  About 50 per cent of Kazakhstan’s territory has an estimated average wind speed of about 4-5 m/s with the overall wind potential estimated at around 18,000 GWh per year.  To date, renewable energy in Kazakhstan is mainly represented by a few hydropower plants mostly built in Soviet times.
“Supporting clean energy projects is at the core of the EBRD’s mandate.  We stand ready to assist Kazakhstan in unlocking its potential in renewables by financing pilot projects with strong local and foreign companies,” said Riccardo Puliti, EBRD Managing Director for Energy and Natural Resources.
The EBRD support for the Yereymentau wind project is the result of the successful cooperation with the government of Kazakhstan on creating the legal and regulatory frameworks for renewable energy.  The Renewable Energy Law was introduced in June 2013, with tariffs for renewable energy off-take agreed in 2014.
This first wind farm in the country will road-test the new regulations and will set the benchmark in terms of developing, building and operating a greenfield renewable project.

Orignally published here

How Thailand’s Solar Power Visionary Built an Industry with a Boost from IFC
In the News | Nov 26 2014
Courtesy of Solar Power Company Group


  • One of the winners of this year’s UN Momentum for Change awards has been transforming Thailand’s renewable energy capacity with utility-scale solar farms.
  • To get finance flowing for what was then a new industry in the country, she worked with the World Bank Group's International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Clean Technology Fund to access blended finance.
  • The project is increasing clean energy capacity while helping drive economic growth in one of Thailand’s most impoverished regions.

Thailand’s solar power market was at a standstill in 2008, with solar energy accounting for less than 2 MW of installed capacity. Technology costs were falling, though, and the government was starting incentives for renewable energy developers. Wandee Khunchornyakong, a retired solar panel manufacturing executive, saw potential.

She wanted to help reduce Thailand’s reliance on imported energy, and she believed she could drive economic growth in one of the country’s most impoverished regions at the same time by building utility-scale solar farms. Funding from the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation gave her Solar Power Company Group the boost it needed to attract investors to a then-untested arena in Thailand.

Six years and 250MW of solar capacity later, Wandee and SPCG and were recognized today by the United Nations’ Climate Change secretariat with the prestigious Momentum for Change – Women for Results award, part of the UNFCCC’s Lighthouse Activities honoring projects from around the world that address climate change as well as wider economic, social and environmental challenges.

"Blended Climate Finance is one of the tools that IFC has available to help pave the way for these types of transformational projects to catalyze climate-smart, private sector investments."
Kruskaia Sierra-Escalante, IFC Head of Blended Climate Finance

Blended Finance in Action

Wandee’s journey to UN recognition required forward thinking and determination, as well as realization by the Thai government that it needed more a diversified, climate-friendly energy supply. Thailand now aims to generate at least 20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2022.

In 2009, Wandee obtained 34 solar farm permits with a vision of building 200MW solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in the sunny, rural areas of northeast Thailand.

There was one missing piece: financing. Wandee needed to convince investors to place big bets on her large-scale solar PV plants, but investors were hesitant to provide capital to a largely unproven market. So in 2010, the IFC stepped in to provide finance to SPCG’s two pilot projects of about 20MW of installed solar capacity.

With these initial projects underway, Wandee turned her attention to raising additional long-term finance for follow up projects to achieve SPCG's scale-up goal.

To help sustain the momentum, IFC provided a US$8 million loan “blended” with $4 million in concessional financing from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) – a multi-donor fund within the Climate Investment Funds that provides middle income countries with concessional resources for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. This blended financing enabled SPCG to mobilize enough capital from three local banks to get an additional 12MW capacity of projects over the finish line. The support also sent positive signals to local financial markets about utility-scale solar PV and gave investors more confidence.

In a few short years, Wandee and SPCG were able to attract upwards of $800 million of investment and have delivered 250MW of solar PV capacity in Thailand. This new generation capacity helps avoid over 200,000 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions annually – the equivalent of taking more than 40,000 cars off the road or eliminating the use of almost 500,000 barrels of oil each year.

“Blended Climate Finance is one of the tools that IFC has available to help pave the way for these types of transformational projects to catalyze climate-smart, private sector investments,” said Kruskaia Sierra-Escalante, head of Blended Climate Finance at IFC. “We have been honored to work with Wandee in support of her vision, and are convinced that helping visionary entrepreneurs like her through blended finance investments can help unlock markets.”

Setting an Example for the World

The financial success of the early solar PV projects has helped drive private investment in Thailand’s clean energy sector, prompting industry analysts to pick the Thai solar PV market as one of the most attractive among the world’s emerging economies.

As Thailand’s pioneer in utility scale solar and now, solar rooftop development, Wandee considers her solar farms a model for other countries.

“Solar energy is the ‘endless power’ – it’s clean and available at no cost,” she said. “Other countries can replicate our experience in Thailand and undergo similar transformations that benefit their citizens.”

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) chooses Lighthouse Activities to celebrate each year. The Women for Results award honors Lighthouse Activities that demonstrate the critical leadership and participation of women in addressing climate change. A 25-member international advisory panel selected Wandee as one of three winners this year in the Women for Results category. The Momentum for Change platform is implemented through support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and other partners. 

Orignally published at the World Bank Group website. 

Additional information -

  • To view the UNFCCC M4C award announcement, please click here
  • To learn more about the winning project, please click here
  • For a brochure on the winning project, please click here
Expansion of Morocco's Largest Solar Complex to Provide 1.1 Million Moroccans with Clean Energy
In the News | Nov 03 2014
Concentrated solar panel

The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors approved today a US$519 million project to support Morocco’s ongoing efforts to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels by developing its renewable energy resources. The project will back the government’s strategy of harnessing power from the sun through the use of concentrated solar power technology.
Morocco is the Middle East’s largest energy importer, and depends on fossil fuel imports to generate over 97 percent of its energy. The Noor-Ouarzazate Concentrated Solar Power Project will support the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy to finance the expansion of Morocco’s first utility-scale solar energy complex, helping increase its capacity and output, especially during peak hours
“Morocco stands at the forefront of climate-friendly policies in the region,” said Inger Andersen, World Bank Regional Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa. “The country is well-positioned to benefit from its head-start at a time when other regional powers are beginning to think more seriously about their own renewable energy programs.
An initial 160 megawatt phase of the project, approved by the Bank in 2011, is currently under construction. The new project will finance the second 350 megawatt phase, and include the installation of solar parabolic troughs and a solar energy tower. This project will be funded through US$400 million from the Bank and US$119 million from the Bank administered Clean Technology Fund.
With its bold investment in green energy, Morocco is also setting a global example for the kinds of actions called for at this year’s United Nations Climate Summit. The expanded solar plant is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 700,000 tons per year. While delivering these environmental benefits,  this project will also contribute to  energy security, job creation, and energy exports
“Apart from creating jobs, the construction of the plant and the development of Morocco’s Solar Plan will establish a future source of reliable green energy,” said Simon Gray, World Bank Country Director for the Maghreb.  “The Noor-Ouarzazate Solar Complex alone will supply power to 1.1 million Moroccans by 2018.”
Other contributors toward the project are the African Development Bank, European Investment Bank, l’Agence Française de Développement, Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau, and the European Commission
The World Bank currently has a portfolio of 22 projects in Morocco, amounting to a committed financing of US$2.44 billion, providing a diverse range of support in areas such as private sector, financial sector and governance reform, green growth and promotion of renewable energy, access to basic services such as rural roads, water, sanitation, the reduction of vulnerability and social exclusion, and improvements in agriculture and solid waste management. Since 2011, the World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, has stepped up its engagement in Morocco and has invested US$590 million to support private sector development in the country.

World Bank Morocco country page and project video