Intesa Sanpaolo will finance SunZia, the largest green energy project in the USA

The institute has signed a subsidized credit line of up to 8.8 billion dollars

Intesa Sanpaolo has prepared and already partially signed a subsidized green credit line with a maximum amount of 8.8 billion dollars for the construction of the largest sustainable energy infrastructure in the USA: SunZia.

The operation was structured by a pool of international banks, including Intesa Sanpaolo which played an important role in the procedure and also acts as a provider of hedging solutions.

What is SunZia

SunZia will be built to produce wind energy and transport clean electricity from New Mexico to Arizona and California.

As reported by, the project involves the construction of the largest wind farm in the Western Hemisphere in New Mexico, with a capacity of 3.5 GW, combined with an 885 km high voltage power line between New Mexico and Arizona , capable of carrying 3 GW of electricity
cleansafe and affordable to millions of Americans in the Western United States.

SunZia enters the market as an absolute protagonist given that it will become the largest energy infrastructure in the United States, which continues on the path of progressive reduction of carbon emissions.

The SunZia project was developed by Pattern Energy, one of the world’s largest private developers and operators of wind, solar, energy transmission and storage projects, with an operating capacity of nearly 6 GW across North America and 25 GW in development.

The US context

The project arrives in a highly debated context. The USA, in fact, is engaged in the ecological transition, but must face political and social challenges to achieve its objectives. President Joe Biden has proposed two trillion-dollar plans to renovate infrastructure, promote renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support the most vulnerable communities.

However, these plans must be approved by Congress, where Republicans and some Democrats moderate they oppose such a high expense and to a tax reform that greatly affects the richest. Furthermore, some sectors of the economy, such as coal and oil, are reluctant to change and fear losing jobs and competitiveness. A situation similar to what is happening in the European Union with the debate on green cars, which recorded a worrying decline in December 2023.

SP’s commitment to the green

Sustainable finance represents an increasingly important asset in the ecological transition, although still underestimated and often incomprehensible, as demonstrated (also) by the fact that among Italian SMEs, ESG initiatives are self-financed in 47% of cases.

The contribution to the ecological transition can come from various avenues, including that of financing sustainable projects which excites Mauro Micillo, Chief of the IMI Corporate & Investment Banking Division of Intesa Sanpaolo: “We have gained considerable international experience in the field of project financing and the significant participation in the green loan facility, which the Bank has structured for SunZia with other leading financial institutions, confirms our commitment to supporting the renewable energy sector in the United States of America and globally”.

In its path towards green and sustainable finance, Intesa Sanpaolo has gone through some key moments:

– It has integrated ESG factors into its investment process, offering clients financial solutions that respect the principles of sustainability and which can improve economic results and reduce risks;

– launched the S-Loan financing, which rewards small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that improve their sustainability profile, granting them more advantageous conditions. In the first half of 2023, it disbursed 0.9 billion euros with this formula;

– has joined important international initiatives on the topic of sustainability, such as the Global Compact, the Equator Principles and the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, which aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change;

– presented its new 2022-2025 Business Plan, which envisages solid and sustainable creation and distribution of value, with a marked ESG connotation. Among the objectives of the Plan are: allocating 115 billion euros to the community and the green transition, supporting people in difficulty with 500 million euros, reaching the goal of zero net emissions by 2030 for its activities and by 2050 for loan and investment portfolios, protect and restore natural capital by planting over 100 million trees and adopting a biodiversity policy.

Even if the commitment to sustainability understood in an environmental sense is clearly predominant, the reference to the community and to people in difficulty integrates a broader commitment that touches on the social aspect of the acronym ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance).

The role of banks in the 2024 transition

Understanding how the largest Italian banking institution is moving from a green perspective is essential for making predictions on the country’s environmental transition.

As Termo, an Italian company active in the sector, explains, banks will be a key driver of the transition in 2024. To this it must be added that regulations, both national and supranational, impose greater “sustainability obligations” first on companies and then on consumers.

With instruments such as green bonds, green loans and sustainability linked loans, banking institutions are always crucial activators of sustainability for companies and individuals. At the same time, it will be necessary to develop rigorous control processes to avoid the risk of greenwashing by those who access financing.

A positive note concerns the performance of the Italian and European economies which are learning to manage ESG risks as emerges from the Consob report “Main trends in sustainable investments and crypto-assets”.

This represents greater readiness to face not only natural disasters, which are increasingly frequent due to global warming, but also the challenges of social and labor equity towards which market sensitivity has also increased.