The EBRD today launched the first nationwide lending programme offering Russian householders loans to make their homes more energy efficient in a country that is one of the world’s most intensive energy users.
The USD 100 million credit line will be on-lent through local private banks. Centre-Invest Bank, based in Rostov-on-the-Don, is the first bank to have signed up to this new EBRD programme, borrowing 750 million roubles for on-lending to its clients in southern Russia.
The credit line is supported by Austrian-funded technical assistance for up to €4 million.
The EBRD’s goal is to encourage, through this initiative, the development of what is at present a practically non-existent market for financing energy efficiency in housing. This should result in the mobilisation of private sector financing for energy improvements and the modernisation of Russia’s ageing housing stock.
Russia’s residential sector is the second largest energy consumer after industry, accounting for 26 percent of total energy consumption. It uses three times more energy per square metre than housing in EU countries with similar weather conditions. The potential for energy savings in Russia is therefore vast.
Russia needs to spend from 220 billion roubles (around USD 7 billion) to one trillion roubles (nearly USD 32 billion) a year between now and 2035 in order to repair its housing so as to make it energy efficient, according to various estimates.
Beyond private individuals, other potential beneficiaries of the programme include housing associations, housing management companies, providers of housing maintenance services, condominiums and energy service companies (ESCOs).
Since launching its Sustainable Energy Initiative in 2006, the EBRD has provided its Russian clients with long-term funding totalling over EUR 2.2 billion (USD 2.86 billion).
The energy efficiency projects thus funded by the EBRD in Russia have resulted in annual savings of nearly nine million tonnes of oil equivalent and a reduction of 17.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year.