EBRD finances smart metering breakthrough in Montenegro

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo

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EBRD finances smart metering breakthrough in Montenegro

Country will use €32 million syndicated loan to become regional leader in smart meters

Montenegro is set to become a regional leader in smart meter deployment thanks to a project financed by the EBRD through a syndicated €32 million financing facility.

The Western Balkans country's electricity distribution company Crnogorski elektrodistributivni system (CEDIS), plans to procure 60,000 devices for smart metering, which will mean that over 85 per cent of consumers will benefit from these modern devices.

The company will also modernise or replace its low-voltage infrastructure and install a modern energy management system (EMS). This will strengthen the distribution network, cut losses and allow for the integration of renewable energy generators.

The investment will make Montenegro, which is a candidate to join the European Union, the first EBRD country of operations to meet the EU target of smart meter coverage for at least 80 per cent of the population by 2020. The modernisation and smart meter installation programme is expected to result in over 86,000 tonnes of CO2 savings per year.

The €32 million 12-year syndicated loan will be provided to CEDIS, a subsidiary of Elektroprivreda Crne Gore (EPCG) which in turn is owned by the Montenegrin government and Italy’s A2A, of which €18.5 million will be provided by the EBRD for its own account. This is the EBRD’s first syndicated loan to EPCG in Montenegro. Syndicated loans allow commercial banks to participate in the Bank’s projects and broaden the range of financing available to support sustainable growth.

Harry Boyd-Carpenter, EBRD Director for Power and Energy, said: “Montenegro’s electricity sector is already one of the most modern in Europe. It is not a coincidence that the country also has the highest amount of EBRD financing per capita in all of our region. This project builds on our previous loans to EPCG, as well as our support for Montenegro's interconnection to Italy and the country's first ever wind farm. We are delighted to work again with EPCG, which has achieved the remarkable transformation of Montenegro's electricity distribution network, reducing losses and improving the quality of supply for all consumers.”

Zoran Djukanovic, CEO of CEDIS said: Besides the fact that the electricity metering project is placing Montenegro among the leading countries that are transitioning towards smart grid networks, completion of this project is also bringing additional value by investing significant resources in reconstruction of the low voltage distribution network with the aim to improve considerably quality of services to all customers.

Technical cooperation for the project has been provided by EBRD funds dedicated to projects under the Bank’s Green Economy Transition approach and the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund.

To date, the EBRD has invested close to €540 million in various sectors of the Montenegrin economy, with energy accounting for almost half of the existing portfolio.

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