Low interest rates and stable incentive key to Romania’s success in growing wind industry

Jo-Anne Duff
Green Power Conferences
16th November 2011

Yesterday, we caught up with Timothy Kim, Senior Loan Officer at the US Export-Import Bank. Timothy is one of the key speakers at January’s Wind Power Romania Conference.

Timothy Kim is a Senior Loan Officer and founding member of the Renewable Energy & Environmental Finance Division at US Export-Import Bank. In this capacity, he originates and structures credits across the broad spectrum of the industry including solar, wind, gasification and biomass. To date, Timothy has closed more than sixty international transactions, with an aggregate total of over $3 billion across the public and private sectors.

GPC: What are the key factors in maintaining ongoing investor confidence?
TK: Because power projects are developed on a wholesale, distributed basis, Ex-Im first looks towards key macro indicators that signal stability and market maturity.  Of these, the presence of a predictable feed-in-tariff (FiT), or similar incentive, is paramount.  We also review the overall demand potential of energy based on historical factors as well as future growth of both the country and more specifically, the region the project is servicing.  Another key factor is the quality of the power purchase agreement (PPA) and the creditworthiness of the off-taker that is guaranteeing payments for the project’s life.  Beyond these, other factors will include the experience of the developer and EPC provider, as well as the sophistication level of the project owner who will ultimately be our financial partner in the transaction.  As in all situations, investor confidence is derived from a transparent, stable and predictable partnership.


GPC: What are you looking forward to most about the 2012 event?
TK: With interest rates at a 60-year low, project owners are greatly benefitting from the combination of stable FiT prices and low interest expense.  Ex-Im seeks to meet and form strong relationships with such project developers, owners and EPC companies that are interested in capturing these upsides. Since the 1930s, the US Ex-Im Bank has been quite active throughout Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), financing co-gen plants, aircraft, agriculture equipment and even nuclear power plants to both private and public sector borrowers throughout the region.  We have also seen the robust development of renewable energy policies in Romania and in other nearby markets this past year.  To this extent, Ex-Im can play a critical role in providing debt capital to wind projects in Romania and the region. 


GPC:  What do developers need to get right in order to attract project finance?
TK: We typically work with developers who have experience building wind projects, whether that be small-scale community wind or utility scale projects.  Because we extend loans out to 18 years, much of our due diligence is spent on answering whether, or how well, a project can perform in the long-run.  Developers who have experience, even limited amounts, developing such projects and partnering with value-added firms (such as EPCs), especially those that can extend credit lines or a balance sheet to cover the construction costs, often find themselves in a relatively advantageous position when requesting project financing.  Lastly, having a complete application with all critical project documents attached is very important to financial institutions as it indicates project maturity and sincerity.

Timothy Kim joins a host of exciting speakers at Green Power Conferences’ 2nd Annual Wind Power Romania Event. Speakers are attending from CEZ, Iberdrola, Verbund, Prowind, Continental Wind Partners, REpower, Siemens, GE, ANRE, OPCOM and Wolf Theiss to name but a few. Speakers represent 3,552 MW of installations in Romania and more than 270 attendees are expected.

To see more details of the event hosted on the 17-18 January in Bucharest, visit: www.greenpowerconferences.com/windromania. Delegate bookings made before 6 December 2011 receive a 10% discount. 




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