EBRD is driving energy efficiency in Moldovan households

By Olga Rosca
@olgarosca

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is helping Moldovans save energy at home and cut their energy bills with a ground-breaking facility to boost residential energy efficiency.

With a group of key partner banks, the EBRD is providing finance for on-lending to home-owners and home-owners’ associations, housing management companies, energy service companies, and private developers wishing to improve energy efficiency in the residential sector.

The EBRD financing comes under a dedicated €35 million framework – the Moldovan Residential Energy Efficiency Financing Facility (MoREEFF).

Four banks – Moldindconbank, Moldova Agroindbank, ProCredit Bank and Mobiasbanca – Groupe Societe Generale – have joined the framework, which was launched in October 2012.

Julia Otto, Head of the EBRD’s Chisinau Office, said: “The EBRD has made energy efficiency a top priority in Moldova. Energy bills represent an enormous burden for Moldovans, particularly in winter. At the same time heat losses are just as big. The EBRD financing aims to help Moldovans refurbish their homes, keep them warm and reduce their energy bills. In addition, the Bank is supporting the Ministry of Construction and Regional Development in amending the Law on Energy Efficiency and the Housing Codes, creating a legal framework that will enable home-owners’ associations and condominiums to borrow money in order to invest in more efficient materials and equipment.”

The EBRD financing is part of a greater effort to help Moldova improve its energy security, as the country imports more than 90 per cent of the energy it consumes, and spends more than 30 per cent of its import budget on energy. Outmoded urban infrastructure, dilapidated communal housing and obsolete energy infrastructure lead to an enormous waste of resources at the consumer level. In some residential buildings thermal losses account for up to 50 per cent of heat consumption.

The EBRD’s MoREEFF finances improvements such as the installation of energy-efficient windows, the insulation of walls, roofs and floors, and the use of gas boilers, biomass-fuelled room heaters, solar water systems, heat pump systems and rooftop solar panels.

Any Moldovan home-owner or association of home-owners, energy service company, developer, or facility management company that takes a loan under MoREEFF is entitled to receive a grant of between 20 per cent and 35 per cent of the loan amount towards the cost of the energy-saving project, once it has been completed in line with MoREEFF’s terms and conditions. Sweden and the European Union Neighbourhood Investment Facility are also providing €11 million in grant support to provide these investment incentives as well as energy-saving advice to home-owners and the participating banks.

Through MoREEFF the EBRD has helped 169 households make energy- and money-saving improvements. These projects are helping save an estimated 914 MWh per year – enough energy to drive 30 times around the equator or three times to the moon. As a result, CO2 emissions have been reduced by 207 tonnes per year, which otherwise would require a five hectare forest, or 7,681 trees, to absorb.

The EBRD, one of the largest investors in Moldova, has to date signed 99 investment projects in the country, covering the energy, transport, agribusiness, general industry and banking sectors, for a cumulative investment of €747 million.