Georgia’s Shuakhevi hydropower plant has received a 17-year, US$250mn facility from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The debt consists of a US$90mn loan from the ADB, another of the same amount from the EBRD, and a US$70mn facility from the IFC, which also provided a US$34mn equity investment in the project company, Adjaristsqali Georgia – a joint venture between India’s Tata Power (40%) and Norway’s Clean Energy Invest (40%), and the IFC (20%).

US$15mn of the ADB’s US$90mn loan will be provided by the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in Asia, funded by Canada’s government and administered by ADB.

“This project demonstrates that non-recourse cross border financing is available for greenfield hydro projects in Georgia, and will be important for the development of the sector and Georgia,” Baard Mikkelsen, chairman of Clean Energy, says in a statement.

However, Nandita Parshad, director for power and energy at the EBRD, tells GTR that the financiers were unsuccessful in their attempt to get commercial banks on board.

“At the moment for the kind of tenor we’re talking about here and in Georgia I don’t think there are any commercial banks that would come in without ECA support,” she says.

Scheduled to start operations in the fourth quarter of 2016, the plant will be used to meet Georgia’s domestic power demand in winter months, while its output for the remaining nine months of the year will be exported to Turkey via the Black Sea Transmission Line – which was financed by the EBRD, the European Investment Bank (EIB), KfW, and the Georgian government back in 2010.

“In the space of five years we’ve seen three large hydropower plants developed in Georgia, which will be utilising most of the capacity of that line to Turkey,” adds Parshad.

Shuakhevi is the first hydropower project in Georgia certified by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for carbon emission reductions, as it is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 200,000 tonnes a year.

Work on the plant began in September 2013, with all equipment provided by an Alstom-led consortium including Alstom India, Alstom Turkey, GES Turkey and GES Georgia through a €30mn contract.