A wind power project in Kazakhstan has secured US$95.3mn from a syndicate of lenders, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Co-financing for the Zhanatas Wind-Power Station comes in the form of a US$34.4mn loan from the AIIB, marking the first time the multilateral development bank has backed a renewable energy project in Central Asia, and US$24.8mn from the EBRD.

Other lenders include the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), which is providing a US$13.3mn loan, as well as the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which is supporting the project with a concessional loan of up to US$22.9mn.

According to the EBRD, the deal marks the first renewable project in the country co-financed by a commercial bank and the first Kazakh windfarm under a project finance structure.

Zhanatas is a special purpose entity run and majority-owned (80%) by power utility firm China Power International Holding (CPIH). Visor Investment Cooperatief, a private investment holding firm founded by a group of Kazakh investment bankers, holds 20% of the company.

Funds will support the the construction and operation of the 100MW plant near the town of Zhanatas in the south of the country, as well as the building of an 8.6km 110kV single-circuit line connecting the facility to the national grid.

This is the second deal signed under the EBRD’s Kazakhstan Renewables Framework Phase II, which – after being approved in September 2019 – agreed to inject €300mn in debt financing into renewable energy generation and grid transmission.

Policymakers in Kazakhstan have said they want to transition the country – which is currently reliant on coal for its electricity – towards a greener economy in the next decade.

During a government session in October last year, minister of energy Kanat Bozumbayev said the administration wants renewable energy to account for 3% of the total volume of electricity produced in 2020, and has set a target of 10% by 2030.

“By 2050, renewable and alternative energy sources should account for at least half of the total energy consumption,” he added.

Statistics from the International Energy Agency (IEA) show that coal fuelled around 70% of electricity generation in 2018.

The IEA adds that Kazakhstan is a “major energy exporter. In 2018, it was the world’s 9th-largest exporter of coal, 9th of crude oil and 12th of natural gas.”