BEERECL concludes on a high note

By Axel  Reiserer

After 10 years of successful activities the Bulgarian Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Credit Line (BEERECL) is concluding its operations. Under the facility more than €150 million in loans were provided to private businesses for nearly 300 projects which involved about €230 million investment costs.

Launched in 2004, when Bulgaria was preparing for EU membership, BEERECL was designed to help address challenges in the energy sector like high energy intensity, high dependency on imports, rising end-user energy prices and the decommissioning of units 1 to 4 of Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant.

Investments under the framework have led to savings of one terawatt hours per year and carbon emission reductions of 710,000 tons per annum. These savings are equal to the combined household electricity consumption of 890,000 people or the residential electricity consumption of the Bulgarian cities like Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas combined. The estimated carbon emission reductions are equivalent to taking 390,000 cars off the road.

Daniel Berg, EBRD Director, Bulgaria, said: “We are very proud about what has been achieved. This is reflected in the impressive figures, but BEERECL has also had a real impact in changing the mind-set of many businesses and banks and put energy efficiency and renewables very high on the public agenda. This growing interest in energy savings is vital for improvements to strengthen local companies’ competitiveness.”

BEERECL’s results could not have been achieved without the work of consultancy experts who prepared more than 300 technical assessments. Energy audits were provided to clients free of charge and were crucial in determining the course of action for the implementation of energy efficiency measures or the switch to renewables.

The facility was designed and launched by the EBRD supported with a €35.2 million grant from the Kozloduy International Decommissiong Support Fund (KIDSF). The grant funding was dedicated to project preparation and verification and incentives to sub-borrowers and banks. Participating commercial banks over the past 10 years were Allianz Bank Bulgaria, DSK Bank, Eurobank Bulgaria (Postbank), Piraeus Bank Bulgaria, Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria), UniCredit Bulbank, Unionbank and United Bulgarian Bank.

To recognise excellence in the field of energy efficiency, BEERECL for the last time in its history assigned its Sustainable Energy Excellence Awards in course of the farewell event held today. The winners were:

1. Most Effective Industrial Investment Award: IHB Electric JSC, Sofia

IHB Electric JSC (former Elprom ZEM) is the largest manufacturer of rotating electric machines in Bulgaria. The company took a BEERECL loan of €47,920 and received a €7,188 KIDSF grant to replace five ageing machines with one new induction copper welding machine. The new equipment improved the company’s operations and competitiveness and the work environment. The energy costs for welding operations fell by 73 per cent annually while water, labour and material costs were also reduced. Annual carbon emissions were 81 tons lower.

2. Most Innovative Investment Award: Delta Textile Ltd, Ruse

Delta Textile Ltd produces socks for popular global brands. The company received a €840,000 energy efficiency BEERECL loan and a € 126,000 KIDSF grant. The project replaced 49 knitting and 12 sewing machines with 34 new state-of-the-art knitting machines. These machines boosted revenues significantly by increasing the production of higher quality socks, reduced waste and lower operation and maintenance costs. Energy costs per unit of production were cut back by 36 per cent and carbon emissions were reduced by 380 tons per year.

3. Most Effective Agricultural Investment Award: Kemapul Ltd, Svishtov

Kemapul Ltd invested a BEERECL loan of €130,739 to replace inefficient old tractors and received €19,611 KIDSF grant for this project. With the implementation the time to complete field processes was reduced, allowing the farm to finish work at the optimal time and higher quality. Labour costs, diesel fuel expenses and maintenance and repair costs were reduced.

4. Food Sector Energy Savings Award: Fiesta 13 Ltd, Pleven

Fiesta 13 Ltd is a confectionery and food retailer in Pleven. The company used a €174,053 BEERECL loan and a KIDSF grant of €26,108 to renovate its building and energy systems. The project included installing thermal insulation, efficient windows and doors, a solar water heating system, air-to-air heat pumps and a natural gas boiler for space heating and cooling as well as a modern ventilation system. Annual energy costs were reduced by 67 per cent and carbon emissions were lowered by 530 tons per year.

5. Most Effective Building Investment Award: Mototehnika Jsc, Sliven

Mototehnika Sliven JSC runs an automobile service centre in Sliven. To improve its building’s energy efficiency the company used a €27,800 BEERECL loan and a €4,170 grant from KIDSF. The measures included exterior wall thermal insulations, double glazed windows and energy efficient metal doors. Electricity costs were cut by 47 per cent and carbon emissions were reduced by 160 tons per year.

At the award ceremony Terry McCallion, EBRD Director for Energy Efficiency and Climate Change, said: “Apart from the projects that we celebrate today, we are also delighted to honour the efforts made by our partner banks to promote energy efficiency and low-carbon through their lending practices. BEERECL was the EBRD’s first ever sustainable energy financing facility and based on the successful experience in Bulgaria, we have provided over €2 billion in sustainable energy financing in 20 countries with annual carbon emissions reduction of over 4 million tons”.

Increasing energy efficiency and sustainability remains a priority for the EBRD in Bulgaria and the Bank will continue its support with financing and an active policy dialogue. Since the launch of the Sustainable Energy Initiative in 2006, the EBRD has provided over €643 million for energy efficiency investments in Bulgaria with a total project value of close to €2.4 billion.