The EBRD is showing how Western Balkan companies can benefit from energy efficiency credit lines.
Due to dilapidated infrastructure, inefficient energy use and high losses in energy transmission and distribution, countries in the Western Balkans are still up to 2.5 times more energy intense than the EU average.
However, the EBRD is actively working on narrowing this gap. Through its Western Balkans Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (WeBSEFF), the Bank provides credit lines totalling €60 million to local partner banks, which they lend on to local businesses.
Plum stones as energy sources
Plum jam producer Ivan Stojakovic is one of many entrepreneurs in the Balkans who recently discovered the benefits of energy savings. Plum stones are usually an undesired side product when it comes to producing the fruit delicacy, known as “pekmez” in many parts of south-eastern Europe or “Pflaumenmus” in Germany, its main export market.
However, the opposite is the case for Mr Stojakovic and his company Wood Master. With the help of a €150,000 loan from one of the EBRD’s local partner banks, he installed a new biomass boiler system in his factory, which is fueled by the plum stones. This helped him cut his business costs significantly, as he can now heat his offices and produce the jam in a very cost-effective way.
Modernising companies, reducing CO2 emissions
The switch from light fuel oil to plum stones as an energy source will help reduce the company’s carbon emissions and preserve the unique natural beauty surrounding Mr Stojakovic’s premises.
Wood Master is one of many companies that WeBSEFF has so far helped to reduce their CO2 emissions and energy bills. Technical cooperation to advice on most suitable improvement projects comes at no cost to the companies and the EBRD’s local partner banks as it is entirely funded by the multi-donor European Western Balkans Joint Fund. Furthermore, the EU supports WeBSEFF by providing funds for incentive payments to the borrowing companies.