Italian energy company Enel has secured a US$800mn sustainability-linked financing facility from Citi and Denmark’s export credit agency EKF to fuel its investments in wind power.

A US unit of the multinational firm is immediately drawing down on a “significant” part of the facility, with a second tranche to follow in 2023, according to a joint statement. The facility is part of Enel’s efforts to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.

EKF is acting as the lender on the deal with Citi in the roles of mandated lead arranger, facility agent and counter-guarantor. EKF says it is its first sustainability-linked loan and that it is taking part in the deal to support Enel’s “worldwide business relationship with Danish suppliers”.

“We are pleased to have finalised this deal, which supports a large portfolio of wind projects with a total generation capacity of more than 1.5GW,” says Peter Boeskov, EKF´s chief commercial officer.

“The facility affords Enel the flexibility it requires to implement wind energy at a world-leading scale and we are happy to play a part in that,” he adds. “We really appreciate the relationship with Enel and the fact that they use Danish exporters to fulfil their important mission.”

Enel’s chief financial officer Alberto De Paoli says: “The facility constitutes the latest milestone in Enel’s journey to innovate sustainable finance, especially in the international public finance domain. The facility gives us greater flexibility, allowing Enel to tackle climate change challenges as well as supporting the energy independence of the countries where we operate.”

The facility is linked to Enel’s existing target of keeping its direct greenhouse gas emissions, also known as scope 1 emissions, equal to or below 140g of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt hour by 2024. The facility includes an upfront discount on the loan margin. The margin will be increased if the target is not met.

In 2021 Enel emitted 227g of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt hour, according to its latest sustainability report. The company already produces 51% of its energy from renewable sources and plans to phase out coal by 2027 and natural gas by 2040, the report says.

The company says the latest deal is in line with its sustainability-linked financing framework, which itself is aligned with the International Capital Market Association’s sustainability-linked bond principles and the Loan Market Association’s sustainability-linked loan principles. The alignment has been verified by ESG ratings provider Vigeo-Eiris.

Citi managing director Alex Taylor says the bank “is pleased to have been able to work with Enel and EKF in concluding this innovative ECA financing which aligns with Citi’s sustainable finance goal to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy”.