x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 November 2017

Masdar-led Serbia wind project to power more than 100,000 homes

Financing agreed for Cibuk 1 windfarm, which will be the largest utility-scale commercial wind project in Serbia and the Western Balkans

Masdar is leading a major wind power project in Serbia..
Masdar is leading a major wind power project in Serbia..

Financing for one of the largest wind power projects in mainland Europe, which will power more than 100,000 homes, has been agreed by the Masdar-led project’s shareholders and lenders in the Serbian capital of Belgrade.

Due for completion in the first half of 2019, the 158 megawatt capacity Cibuk 1 windfarm will be the largest utility-scale commercial wind project in Serbia and the Western Balkans, a statement on Masdar website said.

Vetroelektrane Balkana (WEBG), the project company behind Cibuk 1, is wholly owned by Tesla Wind, a 60:40 joint venture between Masdar, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company and Cibuk Wind Holding.

The financing of the €300 million (Dh1.29 billion) windfarm also includes the B lenders Banca Intesa, Erste Bank, UniCredit, and The Green for Growth Fund.

"The development of the largest wind farm in Serbia and the Western Balkans is a pivotal moment for the expansion of renewables in the region and positions Serbia at the forefront of Europe’s fastest growing alternative energy sector," said Mohamed Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, according to state news agency WAM. "At Masdar, we are proud to have this opportunity to contribute our expertise and experience acquired over the past 11 years to the diversification of Serbia’s energy mix, working alongside our joint-venture partners."

Harry Boyd-Carpenter, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) director of power and energy utilities, commented: "The Cibuk wind farm is a breakthrough for Serbia as the country works to meet its commitment to produce 27 per cent of domestic power needs from renewable energy sources by 2020. The EBRD has worked closely with the government to develop and refine the regulatory framework for the sector and these efforts have now unlocked job-generating foreign investment and the first wave of renewable energy projects."

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Thomas Lubeck, the International Finance Corporation's (IFC) regional manager for central and south-eastern Europe, said: "This project highlights IFC’s creating markets strategy, paving the way for other renewable energy projects. It is a result of our cooperation with all stakeholders and our work with Serbia’s government to improve relevant bylaws and the model power purchase agreement."

Covering an area of 37 square kilometres, Cibuk 1 will be built around 50km outside Belgrade in the autonomous province of Vojvodina. Comprising 57 of GE Renewable Energy’s 2.75-120 wind turbines, the project is expected to power an estimated 113,000 homes on delivery and displace more than 370,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. GE Renewable Energy will provide the manufacturing, delivery, installation, and commissioning of the turbines, with a 15-year full service agreement.

Serbia has pledged to produce 27 per cent of its domestic power needs from renewable energy sources by 2020, reducing the country’s dependence coal-fired power generation in line with European Union regulations.

Besides helping to minimise the environmental impacts of Serbia’s power sector, Cibuk 1 is expected to create as many as 400 local jobs during construction while also delivering 50km of new roads.

On completion, Cibuk 1 will be Masdar’s fourth wind farm in Europe after the 630MW London Array, the world’s largest offshore wind farm in operation, the 402MW Dudgeon offshore wind farm in England and Hywind Scotland, a 30MW floating wind power development situated near the coast of Aberdeenshire.