EBRD invests in expansion of Green for Growth Fund

By Axel  Reiserer

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Boosting renewable energy and energy efficiency projects
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is boosting the activities of the Green for Growth Fund (GGF) with an investment of €25 million, which will promote investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in south-eastern Europe and the European Neighbourhood region (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine).
The fund was established in 2009, with the EBRD investing alongside founding investors – the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). GGF provides funds to local financial institutions for on-lending to private households, small and medium-sized enterprises as well as direct financing to large companies and municipalities for investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
The additional means provided by the EBRD will support GGF to expand its activities following the extension of its mandate to the European Neighbourhood Region in 2012. Demand for sustainable energy financing also remains high in south-eastern Europe where the impact of the financial crisis still affects bank lending. At the same time energy intensity remains above best practice, which leads to significant costs for businesses, private customers and – last, but not least – the environment.
Henry Russell, Director in the EBRD’s Financial Institutions team, said: “This investment demonstrates the EBRD’s commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency even under challenging circumstances. Over the years the Bank has acquired strong expertise in these areas and we are pleased to support GGF both directly through this equity investment and indirectly by working together to identify high-quality projects to finance in the market. Supporting investments that create a less wasteful and more environmentally friendly use of resources is beneficial not only for the environment, but also for the economy of the countries where the EBRD invests.”
Christopher Knowles, Chairman of the GGF Board of Directors, stated: “GGF welcomes this follow-on investment by the EBRD, which further solidifies the excellent working relationship between the Fund and one of its founding investors. Over the last five years, GGF has proven itself to be a leader, alongside institutions like the EBRD, in mainstreaming energy efficiency and renewable energy finance in south-eastern Europe and the European Neighbourhood Region. Working together, the GGF and its stakeholders are demonstrating that reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions is not only good for the environment, but also good for households, businesses and municipalities alike. As the Fund celebrates its fifth anniversary of operations, this vote of confidence from the EBRD could not be more timely.”
Promoting and financing the sustainable use of resources is one of the EBRD’s key priorities. From the launch of the Sustainable Energy Initiative in 2006 to 2013 the Bank invested €13 billion in 756 sustainable energy projects in 35 countries. These projects are expected to lead to annual CO2 emissions reductions of over 62 million tonnes. In 2014 about one-third of all EBRD investments will be related to sustainable and renewable energy.
The Green for Growth Fund, Southeast Europe (GGF) is dedicated to enhancing energy efficiency and fostering the use of renewable energy sources in Southeast Europe, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey as well as in the nearby European Eastern Neighbourhood region comprised of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The GGF provides refinancing to financial institutions for on-lending to enterprises and private households seeking to finance energy efficiency projects. The GGF also invests directly in small to medium-scale renewable energy projects. To maximize the impact of the Fund’s investment activities, the GGF’s Technical Assistance Facility offers capacity building support to local financial institutions and partners. The GGF was initiated as a public-private partnership in December 2009 by the KfW Development Bank (KfW) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) with the financial support of the European Commission, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Its growing base of committed investors comprises donor agencies, international financial institutions and institutional private investors, such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) and the Development Bank of Austria (OeEB). The GGF, registered under Luxembourg law as a SICAV (variable capital investment company), is privately managed by Oppenheim Asset Management Services S.à r.l., Luxembourg, in concert with the fund advisor, Finance in Motion GmbH, Frankfurt/Main, Germany, and the technical advisor, MACS Management & Consulting Services GmbH, Frankfurt/Main, Germany. For more information: www.ggf.lu
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSC 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of independence.
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