In its drive to promote energy savings and renewable energy solutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is honouring local companies that have substantially cut their energy costs, enhanced their production and become more competitive.
On 3 October 2012, in an award ceremony that attracted representatives of the business and political communities in Sarajevo, the Bank named the six best projects financed under the Western Balkans Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (WeBSEFF).
The winners represent a range of sectors and investments: from brewing to wood-processing, food packaging and geothermal energy systems. All served to demonstrate that investments that save energy increase competitiveness in a variety of ways, including reduced operational and maintenance costs and more efficient use of raw materials.
The overall winner of the energy efficiency prize is Bihacka pivovara – a brewery whose investment in a range of new equipment and controls cut annual costs by €400,000 while also increasing production capacity and the quality of its beer.
Other winners are the wood-processing factory EU-PAL for a biomass production system that is largely fuelled by its own waste products; and food packaging producer Helioplast, whose project demonstrated the best ‘value added’ beyond energy savings and the payback period. There were also subcategories for best project in the manufacturing, food processing, plastics and building efficiency sectors, which were won by SurTec Eurosjaj, Mlini, Koala Paintings and Bioenergy respectively.
Local partner banks Raiffeisen Bank and UniCredit Bosnia and Herzegovina also received awards in recognition of the significant role they played.
Libor Krkoska, Head of the EBRD Resident Office in Sarajevo, said: “Support for SMEs and in particular energy efficiency investments remain the priority for EBRD in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In these awards today we have seen how Bosnian companies can cut costs, reduce emissions, and become more competitive. We warmly congratulate not only the winners, but all the companies and partner banks who are involved.”
Michael Mueller, the CEO of Raiffeisen Bank, awarded journalism prizes for the best coverage of sustainable energy topics throughout the year.
“We highly appreciate the EBRD policy of encouraging energy saving and sustainable development. Our customers will directly benefit from WeBSEFF as it allows them to cut costs and enhance competitiveness. We are delighted that the media have also recognised the importance of environment protection and made a great contribution towards raising awareness of this matter,”said Mr Mueller.
Dr. Zlatko Lagumdzija, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina and EBRD Governor, said: “In our country, there is a considerable scope for activities when it comes to sustainable energy. The biggest improvements are expected in the manufacturing process where the existing old facilities that have a low degree of efficiency will be replaced by the new ones, based on the best available technologies.”
Dr. Renzo Daviddi, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina, said: “Energy efficiency means saving money – for individuals and for businesses. And it helps the environment – so it's a win-win. That’s why, since 2006, the EU has provided nearly €5 million of assistance for energy projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
WeBSEFF has similar programmes in Serbia and FYR Macedonia and has funded projects in the region which have achieved total energy savings of 500 GWh per year, equivalent to the energy consumption of a city like Zenica. Total CO2 savings as a result of WeBSEFF implementation across the region stand at 123,006 tonnes per year.
WeBSEFF is supported by a technical assistance package financed by the European Union and the multi-donor European Western Balkans Joint Fund (EWBJF).