EBRD finances bio-gas plant at Ukraine’s Astarta

By Anton Usov

The EBRD is continuing its drive to promote sustainable energy in Ukraine by helping one of the country’s major agribusiness groups, Astarta, to increase the use of renewable energy at a key sugar plant.

A senior loan of up to US$ 12 million to Astarta’s subsidiary LLC APO “Tsukrovyk Poltavschyny” (Poltava region, central Ukraine) will be provided under the EBRD’s Agribusiness Sustainable Investment Facility. 

The fifth EBRD transaction with Astarta will focus on the increased use of renewable energy in the production cycle, an important development in sugar production, which is a particularly energy-intensive industry. A newly-built bio-gas plant at “Tsukrovyk Poltavschyny” will process 120,000 tonnes of beet pulp every year and yield around 14.4 million cubic metres of bio-gas, which will lower Astarta’s annual gas consumption by 7.7 million cubic metres.

Once the project is implemented, it will allow Astarta’s main sugar plant to decrease natural gas consumption by 46 per cent, water consumption by 10 per cent and to achieve a reduction of green house gas (GHG) emissions of around 15,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. It is also expected that further GHG emission reductions will reach up to 35,000 tonnes per year.

A strategic assessment of the optimisation of biomass residues from the production process was undertaken within the Regional Energy Audit Programme for the Corporate Sector funded by the Neighbourhood Investment Facility.

The EBRD has placed a high priority on supporting environmentally sustainable initiatives at Astarta enterprises. As a result of the Bank’s involvement, Astarta signed two carbon credit agreements with the Multilateral Carbon Credits Fund based on the Joint Implementation mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol.

The EBRD is the largest financial investor in Ukraine. As of the end of August 2012, the Bank had committed over €8 billion (US$ 10 billion) through 320 projects.