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EBRD Green Cities project will modernise electricity distribution grid around Chisinau

By Vanora Bennett

Tower and high voltage powerline at sunset, Moldova

  • EBRD to lend US$ 30 million to Moldova’s Premier Energy Distribution
  • Project will modernise and digitalise electricity grid in centre and south, including Chisinau
  • Fostering energy resilience is key to EBRD strategy for Moldova

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is lending US$ 30 million to ICS Premier Energy Distribution S.A., Moldova’s largest private electricity distribution system operator, to finance its investment programme to 2025 while it modernises, digitalises and upgrades the distribution grid in the central and southern parts of the country, including the capital Chisinau.

Fostering energy resilience is a key element in the EBRD’s 2023-2028 investment strategy for Moldova.

This loan follows on from Chisinau’s becoming the first Moldovan city to join the Bank’s flagship €5 billion urban sustainability programme, EBRD Green Cities, to plan to improve its sustainability. In its Green City Action Plan, drawn up in 2020, Chisinau identified air pollution and climate mitigation as priority environmental challenges.

Modernising the regional grid – through the EBRD’s third Green Cities project in energy and the second in Europe – will help address both, saving more than 2,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year and contributing to the reduction of losses by 21 per cent, through replacing older assets with more energy efficient ones. Over half the investment programme will focus on Chisinau and its surrounding area.

The loan to help Premier Energy Distribution transform a conventional distribution grid into a digital smart grid, ensuring security of supply and improving services to end users, is in two tranches. US$ 22 million will cover Premier Energy Distribution’s investment programme through 2024. A further US$ 8 million will cover its 2025 programme.

The project will be co-financed by the European Investment Bank (EIB), also lending US$ 30 million.

Premier Energy Distribution is an existing client of the EBRD and is majority owned by Emma Capital Limited, a limited liability company registered in Cyprus. It covers about 70 per cent of Moldova’s territory.

The EBRD, a major institutional investor in Moldova, focusses on boosting the country’s energy resilience, creating an environment that supports private sector activity, promoting European standards across sectors and regional integration to bring domestic producers closer to their markets, as well as developing efficient and sustainable public utilities which have a direct impact on people’s lives.

To date, the EBRD has invested more than €2 billion in 159 projects in Moldova, which was granted EU candidate status last June.

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