NADBank expands renewable energy portfolio

By David Hendricks
San Antonio Express-News

Directors of the San Antonio-based North American Development Bank on Thursday expanded the bank’s portfolio of renewable energy projects with loans to a wind farm project in Imperial County, Calif., and a solar park project planned for Pima County, Ariz.

NADBank executives also signed a 12-year, $50 million line-of-credit agreement with a German development bank that will be used to lend money to water and sewage projects in Mexico’s border zone.

NADBank is lending up to $110 million to the Ocotillo Express Wind Energy Project for a wind farm in Imperial County, Calif. Power from the 112 wind turbines will be sold to San Diego Gas & Electric.

NADBank is lending up to $45 million to Davis-Monthan AFB Solar Park, which will provide electricity to the Tucson Electric Power Co.

The two renewable energy loans are among five loans totaling more than $158 million in loans and grants approved at the joint annual meeting Thursday in San Antonio of the NADBank and the Border Environment Cooperation Commission, based in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. The BECC certifies border projects for NADBank financing.

NADBank, founded in 1994, only started lending to renewable energy projects in the last several years after devoting its first decade toward financing water, sewage, landfill and road-paving projects. Renewable energy projects now account for 29 percent of the bank’s loan portfolio.

The other projects approved for financing Thursday involve water and sewage projects. A $792,440 grant is being made to assist in water and sewage construction in San Agustín, a municipality within Ciudad Juárez. A loan of about $1.65 million was approved for a sewage collection system in Tijuana, Mexico. A $761,309 grant is being made for a sewage collection system in Bisbee, Ariz.

NADBank will draw on its new $50 million line of credit from Germany’s Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, or KfW, over the next 12 years at an interest rate of 1.9 percent. The rate is lower than the 2.4 percent NADBank is paying for its most recent bond sales, which were conducted to raise more capital for loans, said Juan Antonio Flores, NADBank spokesman.

The German bank’s line of credit is accompanied by a grant fund of about $1.3 million that will be used for technical assistance with the projects financed by the loans. The grant fund will be administered by the BECC.

NADBank currently has $504.45 million in outstanding loans for border projects. Ten projects with pending loans valued at a total of $27.7 million are in the pipeline through 2013, said NADBank Managing Director Gerónimo Gutiérrez.

dhendricks@express-news.net