EBRD supporting energy efficiency in Slovak Republic

By Axel  Reiserer

The EBRD is supporting the more sustainable consumption of energy in the Slovak Republic with a €15m loan to Vseobecna uverova banka, a.s. (VUB) one of the country’s leading banks. The funds will be on-lent to municipal borrowers, private municipal service providers, energy service companies and housing associations for energy efficiency projects.

The loan comes under the EU/EBRD Municipal Finance Facility for Energy Efficiency and will be complemented by technical assistance and grant support provided by the European Union and available for final borrowers. The facility aims at lessening Slovakia’s high dependency on imports of gas and oil and reducing its energy intensity by improving the country’s energy efficiency and sustainability.

The facility also serves to meet the high demand for energy efficiency among smaller companies as well as municipal and household consumers. While the Slovak Republic has made significant progress in improving its energy consumption, only about one third of residential buildings have been refurbished by the end of 2012 and most of the 15,000 public buildings require rehabilitation.

Jean-Marc Peterschmitt, Managing Director for Central and South East Europe in the EBRD said that the loan would broaden the availability of funds for energy efficiency improvements. “Despite serious long-term efforts by the local authorities, there remains a significant need for future investments and the EBRD is proud to reduce this gap with this facility”, he stressed. “The Bank’s engagement is all the more important as raising medium to long-term funds remains a challenge under the current market conditions.”

The EBRD has been supporting energy efficiency in the Slovak Republic for several years through a number of programmes. In 2007, the Bank launched the Slovak Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (SlovSEFF) which, to date has supported around 680 sustainable energy investments worth over €150 million.

By targeting improvements in residential buildings, the modernisation of industrial processes and the production of energy from renewable sources, this facility alone saves around 550,000 MWh per year and avoids annual greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to more than 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Since the beginning of its operations in the Slovak Republic, the EBRD has invested over €1.79 billion in about 126 projects in the country, mobilising about €4.4 billion of financing from other sources.