US Eximbank clears $917 mn loan to RPower's Sasan project

The sanction came through at a meeting Wednesday of the Board of the Eximbank, which at one point had reservations about the loan over environmental considerations.

"Reliance Power's Sasan UMPP has got US Eximbank's financing approval," an Anil Ambani group spokesperson told PTI on Thursday.

The US Eximbank had on June 24 held back approval to the guarantees over concerns raised by green activists that carbon-dioxide emissions from the 4,000 MW coal-fired Ultra Mega Power Project in Sasan in Madhya Pradesh would hurt the environment.

However, it reversed the decision after assurances from the Anil Ambani group of developing green energy projects near the site of the coal-fired plant. Besides, the deal to source equipment for the project from the US was touted to save 1,000 jobs across 13 states in that country.

"The Board of the Eximbank of USA today (August 25) approved project finance facilities of USD 917 million for 3,960 MW Sasan UMPP in India. The project with a capital outlay of USD 4.5 billion is being developed by Reliance Power Ltd.

"This is the largest funding support by Eximbank to any Indian company," an Eximbank statement said.

Reliance Power had sought the loan guarantee from US Exim Bank to support the sale and export by Wisconsin-based Bucyrus International of mining equipment.

The sanction for the project, whose financial closure is already over, will now go to the US Congress for approval.

Green groups had objected to the power plant in Sasan on the ground that it would emit too much carbon dioxide, harming the environment.

The Sasan project is one of India's UMPP designed to help the country to reach specific energy capacity goals by 2017.

"We are pleased that Reliance is making this commitment to renewable energy, which allows us to sustain US jobs and promote both conventional and renewable energy exports," Exim Bank President Fred Hochberg had said in a statement earlier.

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