Yellow Door Energy looks to raise $100m to fund renewables projects

The Dubai-based renewables company is working on $110m worth of projects in 2020

epa08150115 A man cleans the photovoltaic solar panels at the Benban Solar Park, the world's largest solar power plant in the world, in Aswan, Egypt, 18 January 2020 (issued 22 January 2020). The Benban Solar park has 32 power plants with a capacity of 1465 megawatts. Egypt is aiming at satisfying 45 percent of its energy needs through renewable energy by the year 2035.  EPA/KHALED ELFIQI
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Dubai-based Yellow Door Energy, which is backed by multilateral lenders including the International Finance Corporation, is looking to raise $100 million (Dh367m) in debt to finance renewable projects as it remains bullish on the sector's prospects.

The company, which already has a presence in Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, is likely to take an 18 per cent hit to its revenues for 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, chief executive Jeremy Crane told The National in an interview, but expects demand for renewables to remain resilient.

"We expect an 18 per cent decline in revenues for this year. I think we’re past the worst,” Mr Crane said.

“Our 2020 targets haven’t changed. We’re going to have about $110m of projects operating by the end of this year. There are some slight delays there but on an annual basis, it remains the same,” he added.

The firm plans to reach 100MW of capacity by year end and is looking to raise “approximately $100m in debt” for various projects from different banks, Mr Crane said.

Yellow Door Energy, which was spun-off from Middle East-focused solar energy investor Adenium Energy Capital in 2015, counts the International Finance Corporation, Mitsui & Co, Norway's Equinor Energy Ventures and Dammam-based Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp) among its investors.

The company, which has 55MW of projects under construction, faced some delays due to supply chain disruptions as most of its materials are sourced from China. Projects in Jordan, one of its key markets, were also affected by the country’s strict lockdown measures, which prevented staff from accessing sites.

However, most projects are now back on track, and although timelines have been pushed back, none are facing completion risks, Mr Crane said.

Decarbonisation of the global energy system away from fossil fuels to renewables could generate $98 trillion (Dh360tn) in cumulative growth between now and 2050, adding an extra 2.4 per cent to gross domestic product, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. The Abu Dhabi-headquartered agency last month called for stimulus and recovery packages to be made available to the clean energy sector to prepare for a more sustainable, post-pandemic future.

Mr Crane agrees that while short-term subsidies may favour other sectors through a “shock transition period”, governments are likely to pivot to renewables both for economic and environmental reasons.

“Renewables are cheaper, less expensive than oil or any other form of generation. If people are motivated to save money, they’re motivated more than ever to make the change to renewables. In many ways this shift, the desire to reduce their cost of energy, is going to mean an increased demand for renewables,” he said.

Organisations such as the World Economic Forum, meanwhile, have issued cautionary reports, suggesting that the pandemic could derail progress in clean energy growth as countries pause economic expansion to focus on immediate health risks to populations.

Mr Crane, however, says renewable firms such as his continue to focus on existing markets, even if new business development has become more difficult with the grounding of airlines.

“Our growth is now more focused in the countries where we have already set up operations,” he said.

As far as acquisitions are concerned, the company is “actively looking for new investments”.

Yellow Door Energy’s current focus is on Pakistan, where the government has been prioritising renewable energy development along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as it looks to meet its growing power needs.

The company has three projects underway in the South Asian country, largely to serve commercial and industrial clients.

"We’re working with many businesses now to help them reduce their cost of energy and provide them with a greener footprint, which is certainly extremely important for the exporters, who want to provide reassurance to ... whether it’s Walmart in the US or somebody in Europe that they’re following the greenest standards possible in manufacturing,” Mr Crane said.