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Enel reaches fin close for 700-MW S African wind portfolio

The 111 MW Gibson Bay wind farm, located in the Kouga Municipality of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. Photo by Enel Green Power. All rights reserved.

August 1 (Renewables Now) - The South African renewables unit of Enel SpA (BIT:ENEL) has inked deals for up to EUR 950 million (USD 1.11bn) in financing dedicated to a portfolio of five new wind projects in the country.

The Italian energy group said in a statement that Enel Green Power RSA (EGP RSA) has achieved financial close for roughly 700 MW of wind projects after signing all project financing agreements with senior lenders Nedbank Limited and Absa.

The projects in question are Garob, Karusa and Soetwater in the Northern Cape province, as well as Oyster Bay and Nxuba in the Eastern Cape province. Each scheme has a capacity of around 140 MW and is minority owned by a local investor. They were all awarded in the fourth round of the South African government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

The five projects’ combined cost is estimated at about EUR 1.2 billion and the newly secured financing will cover up to 80% of that. Enel noted it will contribute some EUR 230 million in equity.

" The financing arrangements are unique for the African project finance market as this was implemented under a holding company (HoldCo) structure, with all facilities provided to one vehicle and on lent to the projects, " said Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright which advised Enel and the projects on structuring and negotiation of contracts and documents associated with the complex transaction.

The company expects to start building works on the Nxuba scheme by the end of this year. Oyster Bay and Garob should enter the construction phase by the first half of 2019, and Soetwater and Karusa in the second half of the same year.

When all five wind parks are completed, which is expected to happen in 2021, Enel Green Power’s installed capacity in South Africa will be exceeding 1.2 GW, the company said.

(EUR 1.0 = USD 1.169)

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