EBRD, EU, WBIF and Austria help ski centre in Serbia become greener

By Volker Ahlemeyer

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New snow removal equipment saves energy and protects environment in Zlatibor

Located in Western Serbia, Zlatibor is one of the most popular mountains and tourist destinations in the country attracting around 250,000 visitors every year. People are drawn by a combination of nature, skiing and good local food. The EBRD helped upgrade the machinery that maintains this pristine environment.

Public utility company KJP “Zlatibor” Čajetina works day and night to keep the picturesque mountainside resort at its best, especially during the most severe winter months.

“Our company is in charge of several activities, including managing waste, maintaining green areas and removing snow,” explained Srđan Pantović, CEO.

One of the biggest challenges for the company is to keep the roads clean during heavy snowfall, when the wind can create huge snowdrifts obstructing road transport. This is particularly difficult without modern machines, explains Milić Radibratović, a technician at the company who used to work with 20-year-old machinery.

Since old machinery is less efficient, uses more fuel and produces more CO2 emissions, the company invested over €200,000 in new tractors and a bulldozer. They purchased them using a special EBRD credit line, the Western Balkans Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (WeBSEFF), which provides finance to partner banks for on-lending to businesses and municipalities wanting to invest in energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy projects.

To encourage businesses in the Western Balkans to invest in energy efficiency, the credit lines are supported by technical assistance and incentive grants of 5-10 per cent of the loan value, funded by the European Union, the Western Balkans Investment Framework and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance.

Saving energy, cutting CO2 emissions

The Serbian economy is estimated to use up to four times more energy on average than EU countries. There are great opportunities to increase energy savings in all sectors, from residential to public buildings and businesses.

Together with the EU, the EBRD supports the governments of the Western Balkans to modernise their energy sectors. They do this under the umbrella of the Regional Energy Efficiency Programme funded by the European Union and implemented in partnership with the Energy Community.

“In addition to providing financing, which in Serbia has reached €3 billion, the Bank proactively engages with the government to reform legal and policy frameworks to help them align their regulations with the EU and create an environment which will enable further energy efficiency investments,” explained Zsuzsanna Hargitai, EBRD Regional Head, Western Balkans.  

The results of these activities are already visible. So far, the EBRD’s WeBSEFF project in Serbia has helped cut annual CO2 emissions by more than 130,000 tonnes. That’s equivalent to taking 30,000 cars off the road.

Financial and environmental benefits

The project with KJP “Zlatibor” has helped to halve the CO2 emissions produced by road clearing machines in Zlatibor. Additionally, the investment has helped the company to work more efficiently and to cut their operational costs.

Violeta Kogalniceanu, Energy Community Secretariat, Head of Infrastructure and Energy Efficiency Unit, explained: "The potential to increase efficiency through investment in technologies, as well as introducing better practices in public utilities, is enormous and the Energy Community Secretariat is happy to assist, in partnership with the EBRD and supported by the EU, with the implementation of the legal framework that makes these investments a “regular” business, and not an exception.”

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