EKF and KfW IPEX-Bank team for second Uruguayan wind farm

KfW IPEX-Bank, the international export and project financier, has collaborated with Danish export credit agency Eksport Kredit Fonden (EKF) to provide senior-debt financing for the 50 megawatt (MW) Florida II wind farm project in Uruguay.

KfW IPEX-Bank, the international export and project financier, has collaborated with Danish export credit agency Eksport Kredit Fonden (EKF) to provide senior-debt financing for the 50 megawatt (MW) Florida II wind farm project in Uruguay. It represents the second time the pair has teamed up to finance a wind farm in the country, following the non-recourse financing of the 42MW Minas wind farm in Lavalleja back in August 2013.

EKF’s Ole Lindhardt tells TXF: “There’s a very good working relationship there [with the project’s sponsors and financiers]. There was a lot of trust built up in the Minas financing, which allowed this one to go through smoothly and quickly. Who knows, maybe there’ll be another one in the future.”

Under the agreement, KfW IPEX-Bank is providing $78.5 million to the project’s sponsor Akuo Energy, a French renewable energy power producer, in the form of construction and long-term financing facilities. The funds are partially covered by a guarantee from EKF. TXF has learnt that the guarantee is for approximately $50 million, or around 64% of the overall financing. According to tagmydeals, the financing represents only the fifth ECA-backed facility in the country since 2010.

As in the Minas financing, Japanese renewable energy firm Eurus Energy Holdings is providing the equity tranche of the project financing, with a $26 million investment.

The electricity generated by Florida II will be directly purchased by UTE, Uruguay’s state-owned grid operator, under a 20-year dollar-denominated and inflation-indexed power purchase contract (PPC). The wind farm will be equipped with 15 V117 turbines – each with a 3.3MW power capacity – provided by Danish manufacturer Vestas.

Florida II will benefit, as with its predecessor Florida I and the Minas project, from Uruguay’s exceptional wind conditions. With an expected capacity factor of over 42%, the power produced from Florida II will provide electricity equivalent to the output of 30,000 Uruguayan households. It will be the third wind farm to be built and operated by Akuo Energy in Uruguay.

“Uruguay is a country with exceptional renewable wind resources, and we would like to pay tribute to that country’s pragmatism and efficiency in implementing its policy of promoting the deployment of renewable energies,” says Eric Scotto, CEO and co-founder of Akuo Energy. “We are delighted to be able to build our third project there, which will take our installed capacity in that country to almost 150MW and further establishes our company’s status as a leading wind power player in Uruguay.

“We are all the more proud of Florida II given that this project harnesses all the expertise we have acquired through the development and financing of Minas and Florida I. The very same financial partners who helped us finance Minas have decided to also accompany us on Florida II – and in record time. A great illustration of the trust such major players as Eurus Energy, KfW IPEX-Bank and EKF have in us, and for that we are extremely grateful and thank them.”

Uruguay is one of the fastest growing wind power markets in the world at present. It is the third largest market in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the Global Wind Energy Council, with its wind power capacity having rocketed from 59MW to 464MW over the course of 2014.

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