#EBRDmore: going green

By Nandita Parshad  and Josué Tanaka

#EBRDmore: going green

The 37km2 solar park being built at Benban, Egypt.

Bank helps countries and cities transition to the green economy

Finance for the biggest solar park on the African continent, at Benban in Egypt; the first wind farm ever in Mongolia, and the 21 cities that have signed up to the EBRD’s pioneering urban sustainability programme, EBRD Green Cities, with more to come. These are just three examples of the EBRD’s successful work helping the countries where we work transition to the green economy.

The Green Economy Transition (GET) approach is the Bank’s strategy for helping countries where the EBRD works build low carbon and resilient economies. Through the GET approach, the EBRD aims to increase green financing to 40 per cent of its annual business volume by 2020.

The EBRD has signed €30 billion in green investments, financed over 1,600 green projects and reduced over 100 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year. The initial focus on energy efficiency, built on two decades of experience in financing green investments in countries whose carbon intensity is almost five times higher than the EU average, has been broadened into ever more ambitious renewables projects and the Bank is now expanding into cities, which are the source of most emissions.

And there is more to come. #EBRDmore.

The EBRD is stepping up its investments and engagements in response to strong market demand for what the Bank can offer.

This includes bespoke financial products -- ranging from long-term equity investment to specific microfinance solutions -- as well as policy dialogue to create and shape the strong institutions needed for successful long-term growth.

And we are working to align our GET activities with both the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on environmental sustainability and economic inclusion, where the EBRD is a pioneer in its regions.

The city of Baranovichi in Belarus has gone ‘green’ by installing the country’s first wastewater treatment plant which turns organic waste into renewable energy.

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Only economies that benefit their people are successful economies. The EBRD is making a vital contribution to their success, and here’s how.

  • Our innovative Green Economy Financing Facility (GEFF) programmes have delivered €4 billion worth of climate finance for investment in more than 165,000 green technology upgrades, avoiding a total of more than 8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. We have teamed up with over 140 local financial institutions across 26 countries, who have passed on financing to individuals or businesses for sustainable energy projects. These projects are crucial to our efforts to bend downwards the carbon emissions curve, since this is the area in which the biggest shift can be achieved in the shortest amount of time.
  • In Armenia, a GEFF programme supported by the Green Climate Fund provided investments in green technologies, from building insulation to solar power. We provided a PLN 300 million (€71 million equivalent) loan to Poland’s Millennium Leasing for energy efficiency and renewable projects and invested in the first ever energy exchange in Greece.
  • In Kazakhstan, 2019 saw the opening of the first large-scale solar plant at Burnoye, financed by the EBRD and the Clean Technology Fund.
  • With our help, Serbia reached a milestone in renewable energy with two landmark windfarm projects that will provide energy to around 180,000 households, while reducing CO2 emissions by more than 600,000 tonnes annually.

The EBRD is and will remain a relevant partner: financially strong, agile in our operations and flexible in our approach.

One area of increasing focus in our green work is cities, which represent one of the greatest opportunities to address climate change, air pollution and environmental degradation. Cities are the major sources of CO2 emissions, and clean urban infrastructure projects will deliver emission reductions and clean air for years to come. The nearly €1 billion EBRD Green Cities framework offers cities investment and know-how to help them grow in a sustainable way.

Our goal is now to support 100 EBRD Green Cities within the next six years. Our shareholders see the programme as key to transitioning to decarbonised economies. Here are some reasons why:

  • The Banja Luka district heating project in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a perfect example of a Green Cities project. After signing an accord with the Banja Luka city authorities, we financed two biomass boilers that switched away from oil to less polluting woodchip as fuel.
  • Amman, the capital of Jordan, whose population has expanded significantly with an influx of refugees from the Syrian war, became the first city in the southern and eastern Mediterranean to embark on a Green City Action Plan in February 2019.
  • Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, has already invested US$ 412 million to implement its plans. We backed the acquisition of 143 new compressed-natural-gas buses, reducing the vehicle emissions that cause 85 per cent of air pollution.

The EBRD is and will remain a relevant partner for investors in environmentally sound projects: financially strong, agile in our operations and flexible in our approach. We have the means, the expertise and the commitment to move forward in all our existing regions.

Donors play a major role in our delivery, both with advice and with finance. The EBRD has been successful in raising almost US$ 1.5 billion in climate finance from the Climate Investment Funds, the Global Environment Facility, and the Green Climate Fund. Beyond multilateral donors, it is the bilateral donors and investor cooperation with other IFIs that has been a critical ingredient in generating successful investments, and leveraging our partnerships for the benefit of the countries we invest in.

We are as diverse as our countries and as committed as their people: we are doing more to achieve more. #EBRDMore for better growth, better jobs, more prosperity.