IFC Invests in Wind-Power Project in Pakistan, Supports Renewable-Energy Generation

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is investing $38.1 million in Zorlu Enerji Pakistan Limited to support the construction of a landmark wind-power project in Sindh Province, Pakistan, and increase the country’s renewable-energy generation capacity.

The 56.4 megawatt Zorlu Pakistan wind project is the first internationally financed wind-power development in Pakistan. The Asian Development Bank, ECO Trade and Development Bank, and Habib Bank are also financing the $159 million project. When constructed, it is expected to be one of the first two commercial wind-power projects in Pakistan.

The project promotes south-south investment by supporting the entry of a Turkish power company in Pakistan. Few international players currently operate in Pakistan’s power sector and IFC’s support was instrumental in financing for the project. Zorlu Enerji’s relationship with IFC began in 2009, when IFC financed the firm’s 135MW wind-power project in Turkey.

"Pakistan’s first wind-power plant project to be built with international finance was made possible by the support we received from IFC," said Zorlu Energy General Manager Arif Ozozan. "By demonstrating the viability of Pakistan’s local and renewable resources, this project is expected to have a considerable impact on the economy."

Gulrez Hoda, IFC Director for Infrastructure and Natural Resources in Eastern Europe and the Middle East and North Africa, said: "IFC’s partnership with Zorlu Enerji, one of our key clients, enables us to extend additional support to the renewable-energy sector in Pakistan. We hope this project will stimulate the interest of other investors in harnessing the country’s favorable wind resources."

The project will help to alleviate Pakistan’s severe power deficit by developing an indigenous, renewable resource for power generation. It will also contribute to reducing the country’s reliance on imported fuel for power generation.

Addressing climate-change mitigation is a priority for IFC. In FY11, IFC invested over $500 million in renewable-energy projects, representing over 60 percent of IFC’s commitments in the power sector in terms of dollars invested.

By José Santamarta, www.evwind.com