More efficient heating for Moldova’s Balti

By Volker Ahlemeyer

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Anastasia Filip is a Balti citizen directly benefitting from this project

în română

EBRD and donors modernise district heating systems

Across Moldova, temperatures can stay below freezing for much of the winter. In these conditions, people can find it difficult to keep warm and pay their energy bills. Many buildings still have inefficient heating systems that date back to Soviet times.

“We haven’t had adequate heating here for as long as I can remember,” says Anastasia Filip, a local resident. “Our flats were either too cold or they were so warm that we needed to open the windows to regulate the heat.”

Since early 2019 this has changed – not only for Anastasia Filip but across Balti, Moldova’s second largest city. In total, 169 individual heating substations have been installed, providing heat for 129 buildings across the city, including Anastasia’s apartment block.

The EBRD invested €7 million to help the city achieve this goal. In addition to the individual heating substations, the funds are also helping to install combined heat and power generation plants, upgrade equipment such as network pumps, fans and frequency converters and replace a coal-fired heat boiler with a biomass system.  

The loan is complemented by a €0.7 million grant from the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund and a €3 million grant from the Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership’s (“E5P”) in Moldova, to which the European Union is the largest donor, alongside the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, Norway, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Sweden.

Many citizens of Balti are now benefitting from better heating that is easy to control and which can be regulated in each building. Some people previously used expensive individual gas heaters to keep warm. The new system is energy efficient and cheaper for consumers.

The advantages, however, are much wider. The upgrade is also helping to improve energy security as it relies much less on imported gas. Finally, it will have a positive effect on the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In total, it will reduce about 18,300 tonnes of CO2 each year.

“This is a great example of how we work with our partners to improve people’s lives and build greener cities and economies,” explains Angela Sax, the head of the EBRD in Chisinau. “We hope that this investment in Balti will inspire other municipalities too.”

“I have two young children and of course I only want the best for them,” says Anastasia Filip. “It’s really important that we take environmental concerns much more into consideration. I’m glad to know that our heating system is a first step towards cutting harmful pollution in the city.”

Balti’s citizens are only some of many people in Moldova who are benefitting from plans by the EBRD and its donor partners to improve municipal services across the country. The EBRD started working with municipalities in Moldova over 20 years ago including projects in Chisinau, Hincesti, Leova, Floresti, Ceadir-Lunga, Orhei, Soroca.

They range from new trolleybuses, improved water, wastewater systems and major streets to more modern public street lighting and energy efficient municipal services, aiming to improve people’s everyday lives.

The EBRD is the largest institutional investor, with more than €1.25 billion invested in more than 125 projects, in Moldova.

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