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EBRD puts on the heating in Banja Luka

By Axel  Reiserer

EBRD puts on the heating in Banja Luka

€8.3 million loan to district heating company Eko Toplane to finance biomass boiler plant

In a significant step forward to boost green energy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EBRD is supporting the construction in Banja Luka of a 49 MW district-heating boiler plant fired by wood biomass, under the Bank’s Green Cities Framework.

The EBRD will provide a €8.3 million loan to the capital of Republika Srpska, one of the two entities that make up the country, for the acquisition of an equity stake in Eko Toplane d.o.o, The newly established district heating company is the builder, owner and operator of the new plant.

Bosnia and Herzegovina suffers from particularly high energy intensity, with a high proportion of expensive and polluting heavy fuel oil in the energy mix and untapped resources in terms of energy savings and efficiency. The introduction of a biomass-powered plant is expected to showcase the potential for sustainable and greener generation of energy for the economy and consumers.

The EBRD is a leading supporter of green energy and under its Green Energy Transition (GET) approach the Bank aims to raise its investment in this area to more than 40 per cent of annual business investment by 2020. The EBRD is well on track to achieve this target.

The goal of the EBRD’s Green Cities Framework is to achieve significant environmental improvements and promote the green transition quality within selected cities. It combines investment with capacity-building and facilitates coordination among stakeholders. On this basis, for each participating city a specific Green City Action Plan is being developed and implemented.

Ian Brown, Head of the EBRD in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said: “We are very proud to sign this agreement with the city of Banja Luka today. It is a pioneering approach that combines financial and ecological considerations. It will demonstrate that commercially sound and environmentally friendly operations are not only possible, but indeed represent the way forward. It can demonstrate the key role of the private sector in delivering services for the public. We also thank the UN for their support with this project.”

Igor Radojičić, the Mayor of Banja Luka, said: “With this project the city is resolving one of its biggest infrastructure problems – reliable and sustainable district heating. It will also considerably reduce air pollution. But we do not stop here. We are working on a number of new projects to improve utility services in Banja Luka. I would like to thank the EBRD for the excellent support on this project. I hope that we will manage to expand our cooperation in near future.”

Since the beginning of its operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EBRD has invested more than €2 billion in over 140 projects in the country. The Bank focuses on supporting restructuring and expansion of the local private sector, forging closer links with wider regional markets and promoting a more efficient and sustainable use of resources.

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