Bulgaria to accelerate green energy transition

Akuo has announced that it has successfully secured the refinancing of a portfolio of five operational hydroelectric power plants in Bulgaria with a capacity of… Read More »

Bulgaria to accelerate green energy transition

Akuo has announced that it has successfully secured the refinancing of a portfolio of five operational hydroelectric power plants in Bulgaria with a capacity of 15.5 MW, the France-based independent global power producer and developer announced on March 2.

According to Akuo, this deal follows the acquisition, in March 2021, of PVB Power Bulgaria who runs these five-assets, that have been operational since 2010-2013 and are located on the Iskar River near Svoghe. Bridge funding from Eiffel Energy Transition Fund made the acquisition possible while the banking refinancing was undertaken by the EBRD and UniCredit Bulbank. Akuo is also partnering with RGREEN INVEST through its INFRAGREEN IV fund, who thus becomes a joint shareholder of these assets alongside Akuo, to the tune of 49%.

This refinancing operation by the EBRD and UniCredit Bulbank enables Akuo to free up financial resources that will be used to develop other greenfield renewable projects in the EBRD’s countries of operation.

Bulgaria has set a target of increasing the share of renewable energy in its electricity mix to over 30% by 2030. This target includes a 2.6 GW increase in the country’s renewable electricity capacity to reach almost 7 GW by that time. The Svoghe portfolio will significantly bolster national efforts to meet this objective: by covering the electricity consumption of more than 20,000 Bulgarian households, it represents the equivalent of 35,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions avoided annually.

“Today more than ever, the EBRD and UniCredit’s involvement in this renewable energy project sends a strong signal for Bulgaria’s energy independence,” Akuo Chairman Eric Scotto said, adding, “We could not have dreamt of better partners in 2022 to accompany this project”.

UniCredit Bulbank and the EBRD said in a joint statement they will support Akuo to expand its activities in Bulgaria and in parallel to help enable the addition of more renewable generation capacity regionally. “This collaboration between the EBRD and Unicredit Bulbank demonstrates the importance that both institutions attach to cleaner technologies and the promotion of renewable resources,” they said.

RGREEN INVEST CEO Nicolas Rochon said this operation breaks new ground for his company, confirming their strategic ambition with INFRAGREEN IV to support their partners through equity financing, as well as expand our investments in partially merchant energy projects that optimize the profitability of renewable assets. “This promising incursion in Bulgaria is paving the way for future ones in the region. The trust and resiliency underpinning our relationship with Akuo, our historical partner, are driving its success every step of the way,” he said.