EBRD invests a record €2.6 billion in sustainable energy projects in 2011

By Sergiy Grytsenko

The EBRD achieved a record level of sustainable energy investments in 2011, in a continuing response to the need for its region to increase energy efficiency and move towards a low-carbon growth model.

The Bank’s funding under its Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI), a specific strategy to reduce energy waste and greenhouse gas emissions in its countries of operations, reached €2.6 billion in 2011 with 111 operations, up 21 per cent from 2010. This accounted for almost 30 per cent of the EBRD’s total 2011 investments of €9 billion.

This strategic initiative of the EBRD is now estimated to be cutting carbon dioxide emissions by more than 46 million tonnes a year since its start in 2006 – equivalent to the annual emissions of Serbia.

“Sustainable energy investments are and will remain key to the EBRD approach to support its region, as its countries of operations need to continue to improve energy efficiency and lower energy consumption,” says Josué Tanaka, EBRD’s Managing Director for Energy Efficiency and Climate Change. “With energy prices soaring across the world, making energy efficiency improvements is the most effective way to mitigate climate change and strengthen the region’s economic competitiveness and energy security.”

As part of SEI, the Bank developed and set up a business model that drives investment in commercially viable projects at market rates. The model champions the private sector as an agent for change in the field of sustainable energy investments.

The SEI focuses the EBRD investment operations, supported by donor-funded technical assistance, to deliver sustainable energy investments in what remains a complex legal and institutional environment. These investments span across a wide range of sectors and themes, such as large-scale industrial energy efficiency, sustainable energy financing facilities through financial intermediaries, power sector energy efficiency, renewable energy, municipal infrastructure energy efficiency, including district heating and public transport network rehabilitation, and carbon market support.

Results in 2011 further advanced the Bank’s role as a major global participant in financing energy efficiency and climate change mitigation. Overall, as of the end of 2011, EBRD SEI financing had reached €8.8 billion for 464 operations, with Russia, eastern Europe and Caucasus, and central Europe each accounting for about one-fifth of all SEI investments. In Turkey, SEI activity accounts for 52 per cent of the Bank’s total investments to date in the country.

Building on a strong record and experience, the Bank is developing the next SEI phase for 2012-14 which is expected to be launched in May this year.