EBRD and donors support new district heating upgrades in Balti

By Olga Rosca
@olgarosca

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150,000 citizens to benefit from Green City Action Plan backed by the EBRD and Sweden

©CityofBalti

CITEȘTE ÎN ROMÂNĂ

  • €15 million loan to heating utility CET Nord under the EBRD Green Cities programme
  • Project supported by EBRD donors, including a €1 million GCF concessional and a €2 million grant from E5P
  • Financing to improve energy efficiency, district heating and hot water supply in Moldova’s second-largest city

Citizens of Balti, Moldova’s second-largest city, will benefit from more efficient district heating thanks to a new €15 million loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to state-owned company CET Nord JSC.

The company provides district heating services to around 70 per cent of the city’s population, as well as to numerous public buildings and commercial entities.

The EBRD will provide a €14 million loan, alongside Green Climate Fund (GCF) financing of €1 million. The loan will be complemented by a €2 million grant from the Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P) fund.*

Octavian Costas, EBRD Associate Director, Senior Banker, and Andrei Spinu, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development of Moldova, signed the agreement in the capital, Chisinau, today.

The project is a follow-on investment in Balti’s district heating system under the flagship urban sustainability programme, EBRD Green Cities. It addresses the city’s key environmental challenges, including air quality and climate change, exacerbated by the underperforming energy distribution network and the low level of investment in building energy efficiency. These elements were identified in Balti’s Green City Action Plan, completed and approved by the city council in November 2021 and funded by the government of Sweden.

The investment will help alleviate legacy infrastructural issues and promote systemic decarbonisation. It will encourage a reduction in electricity imports, leading to better energy security and significant CO2 emission savings.

By enhancing the operational and energy efficiency of district heating with improved system controls, the project will enable the introduction of apartment-level, consumption-based billing to consumers and further optimise use of the city’s highly efficient combined heat and power plant.

Furthermore, by reducing gas consumption for space heating through better energy regulation, the project will help reinstate a supply of affordable centralised domestic hot water to consumers that was discontinued more than 20 years ago.

As part of the project, the EBRD and the GCF will help promote equal opportunities by supporting women’s participation in climate policy and technical roles, as well as by developing training courses and awareness on gender and climate change issues.

The EBRD’s Early Transition Countries (ETC) Fund also supported the project with technical cooperation for project preparation.

The new investment builds on the improvements achieved in the first phase of the project, completed in 2019, which resulted in a significant reduction in natural gas consumption, reduced CO2 emissions and better-quality district heating services.

The €5 billion EBRD Green Cities programme helps member cities identify, prioritise and tackle environmental issues by developing a tailor-made Green City Action Plan and making targeted investments to address each city’s urban challenges. Founded in 2016, it currently has 52 members. Balti joined the programme in 2019.

The EBRD is one of the largest institutional investors in Moldova. To date, it has invested around €1.47 billion in more than 145 projects across the country to support private businesses and key infrastructure and to build a greener and more sustainable economy.

*The E5P facilitates investments in energy efficiency and environmental projects. Active in Moldova and other Eastern Partnership countries, the E5P is funded by the European Union, the largest donor, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, Norway, Moldova, Poland, Romania, the Slovak Republic and Sweden.

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