Thursday, 2 February 2023

Spain’s PM is set to ink renewables agreements with Morocco today



Good morning, friends. This morning’s issue is heavy on climate finance with a bit of friendly diplomacy — plus the latest drama from Adani Enterprises — thrown in to keep it interesting.

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY- Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is in Morocco today on a high-level meeting visit alongside over a dozen ministers from his cabinet. Sanchez is set to extend a EUR 800 mn credit line and sign 20 MoUs including renewable energy development agreements.

^^We have more on this story and more in the news well, below.

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY OUTSIDE THE REGION- EU claps back at Biden’s IRA with its own plan for green subsidies: The European Commission (EC) — the EU’s executive arm — unveiled a proposal yesterday for a new plan to increase green industry investment in Europe. This follows weeks of anxiety that US President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) — set to heavily subsidize US-made products — would spur a flood of clean energy investment across the Atlantic at the expense of other locations. “What we are looking at is that we have a global playing field,” EC Chief Ursula von der Leyen said at a presser yesterday.

What exactly is being proposed? Under the plan, existing EU funds would be repurposed — with member states able to draw on some EUR 250 bn, much of it from the bloc’s post-pandemic recovery fund. State aid rules would be temporarily eased for investment in renewable energy or decarbonizing industry until the end of 2025, green project approvals would be accelerated, and there would be a push to finalize trade agreements to bring in raw materials and boost skills in key areas.

But not everyone’s happy: Some EU members had previously opposed parts of the plan, including loosening state aid rules and the fact that some countries would be able to outspend others. The story is seeing widespread coverage in the international press: Reuters | CNN | WSJ | Euronews | Financial Times | Reuters | Deutsche Welle

ALSO- Adani Enterprises scrapped its secondary offering yesterday, a day after the offering (which was expected to finance green projects in MENA, among other things) had already been fully subscribed. The company cited “the unprecedented situation and the current market volatility” for its decision to withdraw the stake sale, saying in a disclosure (pdf) to the National Stock Exchange of India that the company will return the proceeds it has already received in the offering. The decision was broadly unexpected, as the Indian company had managed to successfully cover the offering on Tuesday — with the support of UAE investors — despite a turbulent process following accusations from Hindenburg Research that Adani had engaged in share manipulation and fraud. Adani Enterprises’ shares closed down nearly 27% yesterday.

WATCH THIS SPACE #1- Is BP walking back on plans for a renewables push? Oil giant BP may be doing an about-turn on its high-profile strategy to liquidate fossil fuel assets and raise funds for investment in renewable energy projects, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing unnamed sources “familiar with recent discussions.” CEO Bernard Looney is said to be on a drive to convince shareholders that maximizing returns in areas like oil and gas is still a higher priority than BP’s decarbonization push, according to the WSJ. Though BP previously noted that renewables projects would likely take years to break even, Looney is said to be “disappointed” in returns from some of the company’s clean energy investments, the unnamed sources are quoted as saying.

WATCH THIS SPACE #2- Aramco has sustainability tracking in its crosshairs: Over 100 of Saudi Arabian oil giant Aramco’s international suppliers are on track to establish hubs in the Kingdom as part of the company's efforts to better track ESG activities across their supply chain, Arab News quotes the firm’s vice president of procurement Salem Al-Huraish as saying at the Iktva forum this week. Aramco also signed an agreement with sustainable supply chain management consultant Achilles during the forum to indigenize ESG rating platforms in KSA.

WATCH THIS SPACE #3- The UAE’s 2 GW Dhafra solar plant is set to be fully operational this summer, EDF Renewables regional director Olivier Bordes told AFP. The plant — located 35 km south of Abu Dhabi — is expected to be one of the world’s largest single-site solar plants, providing power to around 160k households using 3.5 mn solar panels.

Who are the project stakeholders? State-owned Emirati companies Taqa and Masdar own 60% of the project, while the remainder is owned by a consortium formed by EDF Renewables and China's Jinko Power Technology, according to Masdar’s website. The partnering companies are yet to disclose financial information on the project.

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We’re excited to unveil our next C-level event: The Enterprise FDI + Exports Forum, where we will take a deep dive into two of the most critical topics affecting our community.

Exports and foreign direct investment (FDI) have never been more important to our economy — or our businesses — than in the wake of the float of the EGP. We think we have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build an export-led economy that makes us a magnet for FDI and all the benefits that will come with it for our nation.


India will host the G20 Energy Transition Working Group Sunday, 5 February to 7 February in Bengaluru. Over 150 participants will take part in the meeting including G20 member countries. Egypt, the UAE, and Oman will be participating as special guests. You can find more details on the meeting agenda here.

Egypt will host the CSR Forum from 2-5 March at Somabay, Hurghada. The event aims to further discussions put forth during COP27 and boost private and public sector cooperation on climate action. You can register for the event here.

The Arabia CSR Awards is accepting applications until Friday, 30 June. The awardwinners will be announced during a ceremony on Wednesday, 4 October.

Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.


EBRD loans Turkey EUR 25 mn to support green business

Turkey gets a EUR 25 mn loan to finance renewable energy projects courtesy of the EBRD: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has extended a USD 25 mn loan to Turkish leasing firm Garanti Finansal Kiralama for on-lending to green businesses, according to a statement. The loan falls under the umbrella of EBRD’s EUR 500 mn Green Economy Financing Facility for Turkey (GEFF).

The details: Garanti will use the funds to on-lend to companies launching micro energy efficiency, renewables, and climate resilience projects in the country. The facility will also lend financing to female entrepreneurs with green investment plans, the statement notes.

Garanti has received funds from EBRD before: The multilateral lender provided the leasing company with a EUR 50 mn loan in 2018 to on-lend to energy efficiency SME projects in the country under its EUR 400 mn Turkey Sustainable Energy Financing Facility.

And EBRD has recently boosted Turkey’s renewables with other loans: The bank provided a EUR 50 mn on-lending facility to Turkish leasing company Yapi Kredi in September to support renewables and energy saving projects. More recently, Turkey’s Galata Wind got a USD 45 mn loan from the bank to finance up to 50 MW of capacity expansions in two wind power plant projects in Mersin and Balikesir.


Saudi Arabia signs agreement to convert biowaste into fertilizers

KSA inks agreement on biowaste recycling: Saudi Arabia’s state-owned National Agricultural Development Company (Nadec) signed an agreement with the Saudi Investment Recycling Company (SIRC) to jointly recycle 400k tons of biowaste yearly with the goal of converting the refuse into organic fertilizers, according to a Tadawul filing. Public Investment Fund-owned firm SIRC had signed a partnership agreement last year with King Faisal University and the country’s Date Palm Center of Excellence for the co-development of agri waste repurposing mechanisms in the country, according to Arab News.

The fertilizers could be used to bolster sustainable food production: Nadec — which distributes its produce to over 40k stores across the GCC — entered a partnership agreement this month with UAE-based agritech startup Pure Harvest Farms to jointly cultivate some 27 hectares of its lands to become a vertical integrated business generating revenues totaling some USD 1.6 bn by 2027, according to a statement. The farmlands would be cultivated using Pure Harvest’s climate-controlled, renewables-powered hybrid food production tech.

And there’s plenty of biowaste to recycle: Saudi Arabia produces the world’s largest amount of food waste on a per capita basis with over a third of food produced or imported by the kingdom going to waste, according to a study (pdf) published by King Saud University. The waste per capita ratio for Saudis stands at 250 kg per annum compared to the global average of 115 kg and accumulates yearly losses amounting to some USD 11 bn, the study says.

The move may help work toward KSA’s Circular Carbon Economy National Program: The kingdom published targets to divert 82% of all landfill waste in October, earmarking USD 27-32 bn to recycle 42% and compost 35% of its waste by 2035. The Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) intends to invest USD 11 bn by 2035 to increase recycling, with the support of SIRC.


Enterprise sits down with the EBRD’s Maya Hennerkes

How the EBRD helps partners overcome barriers to climate financing: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is one of the world’s largest multilateral development banks and the organization leading the energy pillar of Egypt’s Nexus on Water, Food and Energy (NWFE) initiative. Its climate-focused regional investment includes agribusiness in Tunisia, Egypt’s Benban solar park, and a raft of recent regional loans for on-lending to climate-focused SMEs.

Enterprise Climate sat down with the EBRD’s Maya Hennerkes (LinkedIn) on the sidelines of its GEFF II program launch in Cairo this week. Hennerkes is the director for Green Financial Systems at the EBRD’s Climate Strategy and Delivery Department, meaning that she’s responsible for the organization’s sustainable finance methodologies, as well as climate-focused lending to financial intermediaries. We talked to her about the bank’s plans for regional expansion in its climate funding and how it’s helping partner organizations “greenify” their financial flows.

Edited excerpts from our discussion:

North Africa and the Levant are already important markets: SEMED was the second-largest regional recipient of EBRD investment in 2022, with the region’s investments standing at EUR 2.4 bn, up from EUR 5.1 bn in 2021, according to the EBRD website. Of the total investments in the region last year, 70% of the funding went to the private sector and 42% of investments were poured into the green economy. SEMED is somewhere “where we want to build business organically, but in a dedicated way,” says Hennerkes.

Expansion into Algeria and sub-Saharan Africa could be coming soon: Algeria and sub-Saharan Africa are potential upcoming target markets for EBRD’s climate-focused expansion — shareholder endorsement permitting, says Hennerkes. Engagement would be for green finance projects in general — though working with local banks is often a key part of new market entry, she adds.

From a climate perspective, these are clear target markets: “It’s obvious that adaptation is a huge topic here … and we want to contribute to the solution through our financing.” Renewable energy systems also need to expand considerably, Hennerkes notes.

The region’s financial institutions have an appetite for climate-focused lending, Hennerkes adds. Potential growth barriers include uncertainty about exactly what climate-focused lending means or whether a sub-loan is considered green. Strong collaboration with donor organizations like the Green Climate Fund and the EU allows the EBRD to provide technical assistance to help overcome these barriers, Hennerkes adds. This is exactly what happens with the Green Economy Financing Facility program (GEFF) and it’s immensely valuable, bankers noted recently.

Project bankability remains a barrier to climate finance growth: While there’s no lack of climate-focused projects or available funding, overall project bankability needs to be enhanced so the two can more effectively be matched, Hennerkes notes — echoing comments made by Shift EV CEO Aly El Tayeb at the Enterprise Climate X Forum in December about the steps needed to unlock capital for climate-friendly projects.

And DFIs can help: Blended finance is an effective de-risking strategy used by development banks, including the EBRD, Hennerkes tells us. The bank also sometimes helps with early project preparation and feasibility studies to help ready projects for financing — especially important for new technology and larger renewable energy projects “where there are quite a lot of upfront costs.” There’s also regulation to consider: For investments in renewable energy, “if the regulator sets the tendering process so that projects can be financed by commercial banks and IFIs, that helps.”

The EBRD is prioritizing the mainstreaming of green frameworks in its investment: The bank institutes an environmental and social policy, meaning it works to avoid, minimize, and mitigate adverse environmental and social risks, Hennerkes explains. It is also fully aligned with the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement, meaning it isn’t “creating any adverse impact on the goal of limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees by mid-century,” Hennerkes says. Finally, it has a target for 50% of all its financing to be green by 2025. This includes all EBRD direct financing — as well as finance provided by intermediaries like banks — and the multilateral lender came close to reaching this target last year, Hennerkes adds.

Working with clients to help them decarbonize is key: The EBRD will build the capacity of its 300-350 financial institution clients to increase their Paris alignment and decarbonize based on sector exposure, says Hennerkes. “We’ll run a training program to explain what Paris alignment means, what a robust transition plan looks like, and how they need to review their portfolios,” she adds. The institutions will come up with their own transition plans — which, once agreed on, will form a key part of the EBRD-client relationship and be monitored, Hennerkes adds.

A c. USD 27 mn donor-funded corporate governance facility will help finance transition planning activities and this capacity building, Hennerkes adds. “We’re applying this to both corporate and financial institution clients, so we can enroll them in general capacity building programs, but also provide very specific individual assistance.”

The aim? To boost emissions reduction, without being prescriptive about sector funding: “The EBRD isn’t prescriptive in terms of sectors, but we’re sometimes prescriptive in terms of the technologies and economic activities that can be financed through our green financing lines,” says Hennerkes.


Spain set to ink renewables agreements with Morocco today

Spain targets renewables during Morocco visit: Spain will extend a EUR 800 mn credit line to Morocco and sign 20 MoUs including renewable energy development agreements, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is expected to announce today, Bloomberg reports. Sanchez kicked off a two-day high-level meeting visit to Rabat yesterday alongside 12 ministers from his cabinet to mend strained diplomatic ties.

Clean energy on the agenda: Joint development of solar energy and green hydrogen appear to be in the pipeline along with collaborations in Morocco’s agricultural sector and desalination projects, Moroccan news outlet Medias 24 reports.

And Morocco already has links in place: Morocco is well positioned to export both renewable energy and green hydrogen to Spain, with existing links connecting the two countries, according to a European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) report. Two direct grid lines run between Spain and Morocco with a third interconnection line set to be operational by 2026, allowing the transfer of renewable energy from Morocco, according to the report. The existing Pedro Duran Farell natural gas pipeline between Morocco and Spain could help facilitate the transport of future green hydrogen across the Mediterranean, the report adds.

The kingdom is already attracting other hydrogen seekers: Morocco signed a partnership agreement with Germany to build a 100 MW hydrogen plant in Morocco in 2020 and signed an agreement with Portugal in 2021 to develop green hydrogen, according to the ECFR report. India’s Adani Group was exploring the feasibility of hydrogen production in the country last November, having previously indicated it could invest in 10 GW of renewables projects to supply green ammonia.

Which is good news for the kingdom’s energy targets as Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch recently stated that renewables are set to account for 50-52% of Morocco's energy mix by 2030.


Israel nuclear fusion energy startup NT-Tao raised USD 22 mn in a series A funding round, according to a statement. The round was led by Fortune 500 downstream energy company Delek US, NextGear Ventures, and Honda, among others. The company will use the funds to proceed with prototype development and establish a new research center.


  • UAE’s Emirates Driving Company has started testing hydrogen powered, self-driving shuttle buses made by Estonian company Auve Tech. The eight-seater buses can run for nine hours at an average speed of 25 km per hour. (Zawya)



4-9 February (Saturday- Wednesday) International Association for Energy Economics’ International Conference, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

6-8 February (Monday-Wednesday): Saudi International Marine Exhibition and Conference, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

21-23 February (Tuesday-Thursday): World Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) Summit, Dubai, UAE.

MARCH 2023

7-9 March (Tuesday-Thursday) Middle East Energy Exhibition, Dubai World Trade Center, Dubai, UAE.

15-19 March (Wednesday-Sunday): Qatar International Agricultural and Environmental Exhibition, Doha, Qatar.

22-24 March (Wednesday-Friday): UN 2023 Water Conference, New York, NY, United States.

APRIL 2023

6 April (Thursday): Arabia CSR Awards 2022 Clinic (online).

MAY 2023

1-4 May (Monday-Thursday): Arabian Travel Market, Dubai, UAE.

2-7 May (Tuesday-Sunday): Salon International de l’Agriculture au Maroc (SIAM), Meknes, Morocco.

16-18 May (Tuesday-Thursday): Seatrade Maritime Logistics Middle East, Dubai, UAE.

29-31 May (Monday-Wednesday): Electric Vehicle Innovation Summit, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

JUNE 2023

Bloomberg New Economy Gateway Africa Conference, Marrakesh, Morocco.

1-3 June (Thursday-Saturday): Envirotec and Energie Expo, Tunis, Tunisia.

13-14 June (Tuesday- Wednesday) The Arab Green Summit, Palazzo Versace Dubai, Dubai, UAE.


Chariot Limited and Total Eren’s feasibility study on a 10 GW green hydrogen plant in Mauritania to be completed.


2-4 October (Monday-Wednesday): WETEX and Dubai Solar Show, Dubai, UAE.

4 October (Wednesday): Arabia CSR Gala Awarding Ceremony, UAE.


30 November – 12 December: Conference of the Parties (COP 28), Dubai, UAE.



KSA’s Neom wants to tender three concrete water reservoir projects to up its water storage capacity by 6 mn liters.


Early 2023: Egypt’s KarmSolar to launch KarmCharge, the company’s EV charging venture.

1Q2023: Oman will award two blocks of land for green hydrogen projects in Duqm, Oman.

Mid-2023: Sale of Sembcorp Energy India Limited to consortium of Omani investors to close.

Phase C of the 900-MW of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai to be completed.

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) steam cracker furnace powered by renewable energy to come online.

4Q2023: Oman to award four blocks of land for green hydrogen projects in Thumrait, Oman.


End-2024: Emirati Masdar’s 500 MW wind farm in Uzbekistan to begin commercial operations.

QatarEnergy’s industrial cities solar power project will start electricity production.

First 1.5 GW phase of Morocco’s Xlinks solar and wind energy project to be operational.


Second 1.5 GW phase of Morocco’s Xlinks solar and wind energy project to be operational.

UAE to have over 1k EV charging stations installed.


1Q 2026: QatarEnergy’s USD 1 bn blue ammonia plant to be completed.

End-2026: HSBC Bahrain to eliminate single-use PVC plastic cards.

Iraq’s Mass Group Holding wants to invest EUR 1 bn on its thermal plant Mintia in Romania to have 62% of run on renewable energy, while expanding its energy capacity to at least 1.29k MWh.


MENA’s district cooling market is expected to reach USD 15 bn.


UAE’s Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) wants to provide AED 35 bn in green financing.

UAE targets 14 GW in clean energy capacity.

Tunisia targets 30% of renewables in its energy mix.

Qatar wants to generate USD 17 bn from its circular economy, creating 9k-19k jobs.

Morocco’s Xlinks solar and wind energy project to generate 10.5 GW of energy.


Qatar to capture up to 11 mn tons of CO2 annually.


Qatar’s Public Works Authority’s (Ashghal) USD 1.5 bn sewage treatment facility to reach 600k cm/d capacity.


Nigeria aims to achieve its net-zero emissions target.

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