Oikocredit invests US$ 4.4M in Costa Rican wind projects
Mark Roesink, renewable energy finance specialist
Social investor and worldwide cooperative Oikocredit has provided US$ 4.4 million in debt facilities for four 20MW-capacity wind projects in Costa Rica, marking the cooperative’s first investment in wind energy.
Globeleq Mesoamerica Energy (GME) is developing the projects through its subsidiary company, Alisios Holdings SA. The projects are sited at two separate locations in the province of Guanacaste in northern Costa Rica and scheduled to be operational by late 2016, producing enough electricity to supply 60,000 Costa Rican households.
In 2015 Costa Rica achieved 99 per cent renewable energy generation, with 80 per cent of this energy supplied by hydroelectric plants. Diversification of energy sources will support the further reduction of Costa Rica’s carbon footprint, particularly because of the seasonal and complementary nature of wind and hydro power: winds tend to be stronger during drier months and vice versa.
Out of a population of almost five million, 99.5 per cent of people living in Costa Rica have access to electricity, although an estimated 21.7 per cent of the population still live below the national poverty line.
Job creation and carbon reduction
The Alisios projects will generate around 400 direct jobs during construction and once operational will prevent the emission of 172,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
Developer GME, a subsidiary of Globeleq Generation Limited and Mesoamerica Power Ltd., manages a portfolio of several wind farms in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras and is developing other wind farms in Central America. GME’s first wind farm went into operation in Costa Rica in 1996.
Oikocredit renewable energy finance specialist Mark Roesink said: “Oikocredit’s renewable energy team focuses on making sustainable investments with a high development impact. We’re confident in GME’s strong track record in wind and their commitment to social and environmental best practices. We’re proud to be funding one of the region’s leading wind farm developers and supporting the diversification of Costa Rica’s sources of clean energy.”
Alisios secured a total of US$ 149 million in long-term debt financing. Oikocredit participated via a B-loan with lead arranger FMO, the Netherlands Development Finance Company. Also financing Alisios are: Proparco, a subsidiary of the French development body Agence Française de Développement; OeEB, the Development Bank of Austria; and Dutch bank Triodos (also via a B-loan with FMO).
Roesink said: “We appreciate the relationship that we have with lead lender FMO and with our co-investors. It’s important for Oikocredit to be able to collaborate with like-minded investors.”
Oikocredit’s involvement in Alisios is the cooperative’s second renewable energy infrastructure project of 2016, following the disbursement of loans in Honduran solar energy company COHESSA earlier this year.
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