UAE’s first waste-to-energy project recognised at PFI Awards 2018

Bee’ah, the Middle East’s sustainability pioneer, and Masdar, the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, have announced that their joint project, the Sharjah Waste to Energy Facility, was recognised as the Clean Energy Deal of the Year, for the Middle East and Africa region, at the Project Finance International Awards 2018.

The award, which is considered to be the most prestigious in global capital markets, was presented during a ceremony held at the London Hilton on Park Lane, on 6th February, 2019.

The project was named in recognition of the precedent it has set in project-financed waste-to-energy projects in the GCC. It brought together a consortium of five banks to provide financing on a non-recourse basis, via a soft mini-perm structure. Through a robust implementation plan, coordination between government entities, and a well-aligned approach to risk allocation, the project succeeded in securing external investment, in a traditionally risk-averse lender market, spurring private sector participation towards the UAE’s renewable energy ambitions.

Khaled Al Huraimel, Chairman of the Emirates Waste to Energy Company and Group CEO of Bee’ah, said, "We are honoured to receive this award which recognises the cumulative efforts of our finance teams and investors towards establishing the region’s first waste-to-energy project. While the Sharjah Waste to Energy Facility aims to help the UAE set new milestones towards zero-waste and renewable energy generation, the financing of this project sets new precedents in private sector participation in the nation’s sustainability drive. This landmark transaction is an example of how environmental advocacy can be promoted in the banking and finance sector, while simultaneously addressing the economic challenges faced by many innovative sustainability projects."

The facility, which is the UAE’s first waste-to-energy facility, is being managed by the Emirates Waste to Energy Company, EWEC, a joint venture formed by Bee’ah and Masdar. Located within Bee’ah’s Waste Management Centre in Sharjah, the 30MW plant will process more than 37.5 tonnes of municipal solid waste per hour to generate electricity sustainably; and divert more than 300,000 tonnes of municipal waste away from landfills every year. Operating at full capacity, it will contribute significantly to reaching the UAE’s target of diverting 75 per cent of its solid waste from landfills by 2021, as well as Sharjah’s zero-waste-to-landfill goal.

"We are thrilled to see the financing of this landmark project for Sharjah and the UAE receive yet further praise and recognition around the world as a result of winning this prestigious industry award," said Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar. "The first transaction of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa, it illustrates the growing confidence of the financial sector in clean technology, as well as the attractiveness of Sharjah as an investment destination."

The waste supply agreement with Bee’ah and power purchase agreement with the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority also enhanced the bankability of the project, initiating a first-of-its-kind deal in the region’s project financing market.

The 20-year term loan of US$162 million was procured from a consortium including the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Siemens Financial Services, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and the Standard Chartered Bank. Last year, the financing of the project was also recognised as the Structured Loan Deal of the Year at the Bonds, Loans and Sukuk Middle East Awards.

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