Rezolv Energy & Low Carbon hand Vestas EPC contract for VIFOR wind farm in Romania

Actis-backed Rezolv Energy and Low Carbon, through their project subsidiary First Looks Solutions S.R.L., have selected Vestas as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) partner for the first phase of the ‘VIFOR’ wind farm in Buzău County, Romania. Phase 1 will install 192MW in capacity, with planned expansion to 461MW in Phase 2.

The first phase of the VIFOR project will involve the installation of 30 EnVentus Vestas V162 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 6.4MW. The turbines have a tower height of 166 metres and a rotor diameter of 162 metres.

Once operational, VIFOR will be one of Europe’s largest onshore wind farms. Close to the Carpathian Mountains and benefiting from exceptional wind yields, the project will generate enough clean energy to power more than 270,000 homes and will avoid approximately 540,000 tonnes of CO2e annually. The project will support Romania in meeting its climate targets and play an important role in the region’s energy transition.

Last month, the Romanian Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE) issued the setting-up authorisation for the first phase of the VIFOR project. This was the final approval required.  Construction is scheduled to be completed within 18 months, with VIFOR coming onstream before the end of 2025.

Vestas’ role as EPC partner will involve working alongside Rezolv and Low Carbon to implement the Environmental and Social Management Plan for VIFOR. Rezolv’s sustainability strategy has been built on industry best practice and aligns with international standards, including the Equator Principles and the International Finance Corporation (IFC)’s Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability. One of its pillars is striving to ensure that each of its renewable energy plants supports flourishing and sustainable ecosystems.

In addition to the environmental benefits, VIFOR will create local jobs during both the construction and operational phases, deliver economic benefits, and support community initiatives in Buzău County aimed at ensuring that the project leaves a lasting, positive legacy for local people.

Last week, finance loan facilities of up to €291 million were secured to support the Phase 1 construction from a consortium of eight lenders led by Erste Group, UniCredit Group and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Intesa Sanpaolo Group, OTP Bank, Raiffeisen Bank International AG and Garanti BBVA Romania. Phase 1 is also underpinned by five landmark commercial power purchase agreements (PPAs).

Alastair Hammond, CEO, Rezolv Energy, said: “The VIFOR wind farm will play a significant role in reducing Romania’s dependence on fossil fuels, enhancing the country’s energy security and improving air quality. Vestas, as the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer and with the greatest number of MWs installed in the region, is a natural partner for this, the first large wind farm in the CEE/SEE region in the past 10 years. Crucially, Vestas also shares our commitment to the responsible and sustainable development of renewable energy projects, which made them a natural choice for VIFOR.”

Martin Langham, Managing Director at Low Carbon said: “We are delighted to reach this major milestone in the development of the VIFOR wind project, which is a result of the tireless efforts of the team and our Rezolv partners over several years. The EPC agreement with the leading wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas, will be one of the largest contracts of its kind in Europe reinforcing our track record for delivering clean energy infrastructure on this scale. Furthermore, the project will play a key role helping Romania to decarbonise its electricity grid and accelerate the energy transition in Eastern Europe.”

Nils de Baar, President of Vestas Northern and Central Europe, said: “VIFOR will become one of the largest onshore wind projects in the region, contributing significantly to Romania’s energy transition ambitions. Vestas is pleased to deliver this order as a turnkey project, and our thanks go to our partners for the great collaboration and their trust in our industry leading technology.”

Rezolv Energy was launched 18 months ago by Actis, a leading global investor in sustainable infrastructure, and already has well over 2GW of clean energy being prepared for construction in South Eastern Europe. As well as the VIFOR wind farm, projects include Dama Solar in western Romania which, at 1,044MW, will be the largest solar plant anywhere in Europe once it is built, the 600MW Dunarea East & West Wind Farms in Romania’s Constanța County, and St. George, a 229MW solar project in north-eastern Bulgaria.

At the same time, IFC  announced it is providing long-term debt financing for the 461-megawatt (MW) Vifor Wind Power Plant, to boost the supply of competitively priced renewable energy in Romania. The project will play a significant role in reducing Romania’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and bolstering the country’s climate commitments and energy transition goals.

Developed through a joint venture between Rezolv Energy S.A., the regional energy platform of global infrastructure investor Actis, and global renewable energy company Low Carbon, Vifor is being developed under two phases. Phase 1 starting construction for an installed capacity of 192 megawatts, and Phase 2 for an additional 269 megawatts of incremental capacity, currently preparing for construction. IFC’s loan for Phase 1 consists of €21.4 million from IFC’s own account and is part of a larger €291 million financing package alongside commercial banks and other lenders.

The new project will be one of Romania’s first large-scale greenfield renewable energy projects financed without public support. Once fully operational, it is expected to reduce the carbon footprint of Romania’s energy sector by an estimated 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per year, supporting the country’s goal of reducing net GHG emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030.

Rezolv Energy’s Jan Viton, Financing and M&A Director, said: “This is a truly landmark project and the first one Rezolv Energy brings to financial close. We are very proud at the interest this financing has generated among a wide spectrum of financial institutions, and we are delighted to have established a core group of lenders including IFC, which we hope to continue to call upon in the future as we deliver our pipeline of renewables projects across the region.”

“We are delighted to be partnering with IFC on Vifor, who will play a crucial role in its establishment by helping to unlock capital to finance the project,” said Martin Langham, Managing Director at Low Carbon. “Once built, Vifor will be one of the largest wind projects in Eastern Europe and reinforces our track record of working with institutional investors to deliver large-scale renewable infrastructure, while playing a key role in supporting Romania’s efforts to decarbonize its electricity grid.”

While Romania has made progress in reducing GHG emissions, the country still relies heavily on fossil fuels, resulting in an emissions intensity 1.4 times higher than the European Union average. The scheduled 2032 phase-out of coal for electricity generation means an estimated $31.5 billion in investment is needed to facilitate the energy transition in the power generation and storage sector.

The wind power plant, to be located near Buzau in southeastern Romania, will also offer a pioneering hybrid energy sales model, combining wholesale electricity market sales and corporate power purchase agreements with commercial and industrial customers and traders.

“To achieve its climate commitments, Romania needs to accelerate its deployment of clean energy sources,” said Ary Naïm, IFC Manager for Central and South Europe. “IFC is pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Rezolv Energy and Low Carbon on this landmark project, to help demonstrate the bankability of private utility-scale onshore wind generation projects selling power on purely commercial terms and spur the energy transition in the country and region.”

Romania represents IFC’s largest country exposure in Europe, with a portfolio of $2.1 billion, and its 10th largest globally.

Buzauclean energyclimatefinancinggreenhouse gasIFCrenewable energyRezolv EnergyRomaniaViforwind plant
Comments (0)
Add Comment