EBRD’s sustainable energy finance programme improves lives of about 50,000 residents in Slovakia

By Sergiy Grytsenko

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The EBRD is continuing to help Slovakia implement its long-term energy strategy and meet its international obligations to increase energy savings and reduce carbon emissions, while reducing reliance on costly fossil fuel imports.

The Bank has successfully completed the first phase of its sustainable energy funding programme in Slovakia, which since its launch in December 2007 provided €60 million in financing from the EBRD.

As part of the EBRD-funded Slovak Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Finance Facility (SlovSEFF), 46,350 people across the country have slashed their energy bills by an average of 32 per cent and at the same time improved their living conditions by making their homes warmer and healthier.

For example, Elena Bašková and her husband live on the top floor of a building which benefited from energy saving investments. As part of a loan from the SlovSEFF programme, the windows and doors in the building where the Baškov family lives were replaced. In addition, they insulated walls and balconies and installed a new heat exchanger. 

“My flat was either very hot during summer or very cold during winter. Thanks to energy efficiency improvements we now look forward to the change of seasons and no longer dread extreme temperatures,” she says.
Out of the 293 SlovSEFF Phase I private sector energy investment projects across the country, energy efficiency improvements in the private residential sector amounted to 250 (over 85 per cent), while investments in industrial energy efficiency initiatives and renewable energy sources accounted to 12 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively.

All this resulted in total annual energy savings equivalent to 282,613 MWh of electricity, equivalent to the production of a 100 MW wind farm, and carbon emission reductions of 63,564 tons a year, equivalent to taking over 28,000 cars off the road in the UK. By the time all projects are completed in 15 years, total reductions will amount to 953,460 tons, which corresponds to over a third of the emissions produced by Slovak capital city Bratislava. In addition, primary energy savings will by then amount to over 4 Terawatthours, the equivalent of the annual production of a large coal-fired power station.

“Since its beginning, SlovSEFF has been very successful especially in supporting energy efficiency improvements in buildings. The programme has also proved very successful in leveraging donor funds – during the first phase every Euro coming from donors generated 6.4 Euros of investment in energy efficiency,” Daniela Diedrich-Ristič, EBRD’s Energy Efficiency Analyst, says.

According to ENVIROS, a Czech environmental consultancy providing local expertise to SlovSEFF, households in Slovakia can achieve 30-40 per cent energy savings just by changing their windows and installing insulation. Businesses can also save: one private cement producer cut its energy costs by almost a million euros a year as a result of energy efficiency improvements which were made using SlovSEFF.

The first phase of SlovSEFF, offering loans between €20,000 and €2,500,000, as well as grants of between 7.5 and 20.0 per cent of the total loan amount and free technical assistance, was launched in cooperation with the Slovak Ministry of Economy. It supported the scheme through the Bohunice International Decommissioning Fund, making available €15 million in grant funding for advisory services and investment incentives for project developers.

As part of its first phase, SlovSEFF distributed funds through four local partner banks Slovenska Sporitelna (Erste Bank Group), VUB Banka (Intesa Sanpaolo Group), Tatra Banka (Raiffeisen International) and Dexia Banka Slovensko. The financing was made available to enable the banks to on-lend to their clients, such as private companies and housing associations, to invest in industrial energy efficiency, renewable energy and residential sector energy efficiency projects.

In its first phase, SlovSEFF investment achieved a total value of €77.8 million including funding coming from the private sector investors and residents themselves.

In March 2010, the EBRD launched the second phase of SlovSEFF with an additional €90 million of funding offered to both new and already participating banks. The second phase of SlovSEFF continues to generate equally impressive results.

SlovSEFF is only one example of the many successful Sustainable Energy Financing Facilities (SEFFs) that the EBRD has already established in 16 countries, ranging from Poland to Kazakhstan.

SEFFs form a key element of the Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI). This key Bank initiative, launched in 2006 to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy investments in the EBRD region, is now estimated to be cutting carbon dioxide emissions by more than 2 million tons a year, roughly the annual CO2 output of a city the size of Yerevan, or half the emissions of Albania.

As of the first half of 2011, EBRD committed a total of €1.8 billion in funding to SEFFs, while bilateral and institutional donors have contributed over €200 million to support SEFF implementation. So far the EBRD had provided SEFFs loans to more than 50 partner banks which have on-lent around €1 billion in investments to hundreds of enterprises and tens of thousands of households.

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