EBRD invests €10 billion in sustainable energy

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo

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€10 billion is close to the GDP of several EBRD countries of operations. Today, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has announced that its investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy have reached €10 billion (over US$ 13 billion) since the launch of its Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI) in 2006.

This milestone was announced today in Istanbul, Turkey during an EBRD panel discussion held in parallel with the  Climate Investment Funds 2012 Partnership Forum. SEI has financed 552 projects ranging from the insulation of a nursery in Slovakia  (watch video) to energy efficiency credit lines in Turkey. The project that brings the total of EBRD SEI financing to €10 billion is the new 53 MW Kukinia wind farm in Poland.

“The energy intensity of economies in the region of EBRD operations remains very high, despite some progress.  Sustainable energy has grown into a major activity of the EBRD accounting for a third of EBRD investments in 2011. From Turkey to Russia, from Mongolia to Slovakia we are working with industries, utilities, municipalities and households to enhance their energy efficiency. The EBRD has proven over the years that energy efficiency makes good business sense,” says Sir Suma Chakrabarti, the EBRD President.

EBRD’s Managing Director for Energy Efficiency and Climate Change, Josué Tanaka, says: “With this financial milestone of €10 billion of EBRD sustainable energy financing, we demonstrate that even in a difficult context there is a strong opportunity to assist small and large corporates in reducing their costs and enhancing their competitiveness. Beyond business, these investments bring significant environmental benefits with SEI projects to date expected to reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 50 million tonnes, which is equivalent to the emissions of Sweden.”

While the EBRD record shows what can be done in the short term, sustainable energy investment could be significantly boosted with an improvement in policies and regulations including: cost-reflective pricing; setting standards for equipment that promote the use of high-efficiency appliances, machinery and vehicles; and providing appropriate incentives to further investment in developing and deploying high-efficiency solutions where the price mechanism may not be sufficient.

EBRD’s Josué Tanaka adds: “A modern economy is an economy moving on a low-carbon path, so businesses should look ahead and invest in the most efficient solutions. Go beyond the legal and regulatory requirements of today to be more competitive tomorrow.”

The total value of projects where the EBRD has invested under the Sustainable Energy Initiative since 2006 is over €55 billion. The Bank aims to invest a further €5 to €6 billion in this area in the period 2012 to 2014.

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