Wind energy in Costa Rica: four wind power projects

The Alisios Wind Projects, owned and sponsored by Globeleq Mesoamerica Energy (Wind) Limited (“GME”), a subsidiary company of Globeleq Generation Limited and Mesoamerica Power Ltd., have secured USD149 million in long-term debt financing.

The project debt financing and syndication was completed in April 2016 by The Netherlands Development Finance Company FMO, (who acted as Mandated Lead Arranger with USD 70.2 million (and excluding the B-loan participations done in April 2016), Proparco, the private sector investment arm of the French development body Agence Française de Développement (since October 2015 with USD 53 million) and OeEB, the Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank AG (since April 2016 with USD 13,125,000). Triodos Groenfonds and Oikocredit, both from The Netherlands, took participations under FMO’s B loan (with an aggregate amount of USD13,125,000).

Given the projects’ locations in areas with an excellent wind resource regime from December until May, it is critical to be in the operational phase rather than busy with lifting of wind turbine generators and blades during such windy periods. So when in early October 2015 the last two offtake agreements (out of 4, each for 20MW) were signed with Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), the Costa Rican state-owned utility, as Offtaker, the sponsor faced (among others) two challenging priorities in order to have Alisios operational by late 2016: the signing of the EPC contracts with a consortium of Gamesa and Iberdrola and the closing of the debt financing. The sponsor managed to sign the EPC contracts on October 29th, 2015 and the financing one day later. During that short period, FMO as Mandated Lead Arranger agreed with the sponsor to execute a syndication within the subsequent six months.

GME currently manages a portfolio of several wind farms in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras and develops concurrently other wind farms in the region. For the maintenance of these wind farms, cranes are used for activities such as inspections, cleaning of blades and for major repairs. During the syndication process, the appetite of new lenders and participants for the Alisios project made it possible to include one small and one heavy-duty crane in the investment budget, which therefore increased to USD 189 million in April 2016.

Mr. Jay Gallegos, CEO of Globeleq Mesoamerica Energy and Alisios, commented upon this final closing: “Our first wind farm PESRL went into commercial operation in 1996 in Costa Rica. We still operate the plant with exceptional availabilities, with annual average wind speeds over 12 meters per second. Since then, we have grown to become the leading wind power company in the region by focusing on certain fundamental principles: greenfield development which allows us to control quality in terms of the technical merits of the projects, best practices in social, environmental, health & safety, regional leadership on policy, ethics and sustainability, and operational excellence. This is possible only because of our competent and committed staff of professionals.

We are very appreciative of our relationship with such high quality international financiers, who provide long term debt funding. I would like to highlight the late stage inclusion of two cranes, which will ensure timely corrective maintenance over the life of the projects. It has been a pleasure to work together to make these projects a reality.”

Mrs. Linda Broekhuizen, CIO of FMO added: “Supporting sponsors with investments in wind farms like Alisios has been part of FMO’s energy strategy for years, supporting job creation and much needed clean and renewable energy in developing countries. The management and teams of GME and Alisios continuously demonstrate their professionalism, commitment and agility to execute their long-term investment plans and day-to-day operations. On behalf of Proparco, OeEB, Triodos Groenfonds and Oikocredit and all our other partners, we are grateful and proud to be associated with the largest wind farm developer in the region.”

Globeleq is an experienced developer, owner and operator of power projects across emerging markets. The company develops economically sustainable projects that support the continued development of the electric power sector in its target regions. It is wholly owned by Actis Infrastructure Fund 2, a fund managed by Actis. Since the company’s launch in 2002, it has participated in transactions involving nearly 14,000 MWs across 44 different power projects in emerging markets.