Egypt’s solar power complex Benban, located near Aswan, set to become the largest solar park in the world, won on Wednesday the Thomson Reuters’ project Finance International Award for “Global Multilateral of the Year,” Zulficar & Partners, a law firm that advised the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC)on the project agreements, said in a statement.
The $2 billion complex, where 30 solar power plants will be generating around 1.5 GW of power, is being funded by various international lenders including the International Finance Corporation and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
The award “crowns the success of the (program) and its participants… it launches the first successful major solar park in the country, reviving hope in sustainable and renewable energy..it is considered the largest foreign direct investment in Egypt in recent years,” the statement read.
According to the statement, Zulficar & Partners law firm invested in the program with EETC shortly after it began and was engaged in its different phases, acting as a legal counselor.
“(Our) contribution helped restore faith in the program during the sensitive time following the disappointment brought by the loss of financing of the first round, and ensuring the successful completion of negotiations with the International Financial Institutions providing project finance,” the statement added.
Egypt’s Feed-in-Tariff program was introduced with the aim of using private-sector capital to assist in achieving its goal of providing 20 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2022. The plants are expected to reduce Egypt’s carbon dioxide emissions by 90,000 tonnes per year.
In October 2017, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, said it had completed a $653 million debt package to finance the building of 13 solar power plants, expected to generate 590 megawatts
“This creates an ecosystem of investors for Egypt for this program and broadens the capital base for future infrastructure spending,” Erick Becker, IFC’s manager of infrastructure and natural resources in the Middle East and North Africa, told Reuters in an interview at the time.
A month later, EBRD said that it is financing 16 new solar power plants with a capacity of 750 megawatts, making it the single largest investor in renewable energy in the country.
“This is a major milestone in our support for renewable energy in Egypt. We have been working with the Egyptian authorities since 2014 to help them fulfill their ambitious goals in this area,” said Harry Boyd-Carpenter, head of Power and Energy at the EBRD in November.
The Global Award for Multilateral Deal of the Year is a prestigious award granted by Thomson Reuters to the most remarkable project finance transactions.