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Clifford Chance advises financiers on key Egypt solar projects

30 October 2017

Clifford Chance advises financiers on key Egypt solar projects

Six solar plants totalling 400MW in Ben Ban area

Largest portfolio of projects developed by the same sponsor group as part of the Egyptian Phase 2 FiT program

International law firm Clifford Chance advised the financiers, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), on the financing for six solar projects in Egypt.

The six solar projects will be owned by Norwegian solar developer, Scatec Solar jointly with their development partners. In April 2017, the project companies entered into 25-year Power Purchase Agreements for six photovoltaic (PV) plants totalling 400MW. The facilities are located in the Ben Ban area near Aswan in Upper Egypt and are expected to generate around 870GWh of solar electricity per year.

The solar projects form part of the 2GW solar FiT programme launched by the Egyptian Government in 2015. The electricity produced by the solar FiT programme will help Egypt to meet its emission reduction targets under the Paris Climate Agreement by replacing about 350,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year and further diversify the Egyptian power sector by exploiting the country's renewable energy potential.

Clifford Chance provided advice to the conventional and Islamic lenders on approximately US$334 million commitment across all six projects with the remaining equity of around US$111 million coming from Scatec Solar, Africa50 – Project Finance and KLP Norfund Investments AS.

Lead Partner, Mohamed Hamra-Krouha said: "This is an important milestone in the modernisation of the Egyptian energy market and we are delighted to have been involved in advising EBRD, IsDB and ICD across these six projects. The success of the FiT programme not only provides a vital regulatory framework for private investment in Egypt but also highlights developers and financiers' continued commitment to renewable power projects in the region.

"We're immensely proud of our team who demonstrated full commitment in seeing the successful signing of the facilities which is a key strength of Clifford Chance thanks to our considerable on-the-ground presence and expertise in this space" he added.

The UAE-based Clifford Chance team advising the lenders included partners Mohamed Hamra-Krouha, Richard Parris, and Qudeer Latif with support from Jennifer Riddle, Mavi Mudiaga-Erheuh, Cheuk Yin Cheung, Ahmed Choudhry, Michael Gabriel, Katie Joukadjian, Edesili Obetoh and Sara Salameh.

In the last 12 months there has been a strong upturn in the MENA region for greenfield solar and wind projects. Clifford Chance is advising on a range of these including: a 250MW wind farm in the Gulf of Suez, the first wind IPP in Egypt; the third phase of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai (DEWA III Solar PV Project); the 200MW Baynouna solar PV project, 89MW onshore wind farm and Al Rajef wind farm, in Jordan; the first major wind and solar IPPs in Iran as well as drafting for the form of PPA for negotiation with the government’s renewable energy representative body, SUNA; and the 58.7MW Mersinli onshore wind project in Turkey.