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EBRD lends €4.6 million to Moldovan city of Balti

By Vanora Bennett

  • EBRD loan to expand Balti’s trolleybus fleet and modernise street lighting infrastructure
  • Loan to be complemented by a €2.4 million grant from the E5P Fund, where the EU is the largest contributor
  • Project, under the EBRD Green Cities programme, to promote resource efficiency and reduce pollution

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is lending €4.6 million to the city of Balti in Moldova to help improve public transport and street lighting infrastructure.

The investment, which totals €7 million, will be complemented by a €2.4 million grant provided by the Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P) Fund, to which the European Union (EU) is the largest contributor. An agreement to this effect was also signed today.

The investment will provide 22 battery-powered trolleybuses and modernise the street lighting system of six priority streets in Moldova’s second-largest city. The new buses will improve the city’s public transport; they can operate with battery support in areas of the city that do not have overhead wires, expanding the service area. Renewing the trolleybus fleet also addresses a key priority for Balti, enabling it to move towards a greener, more comfortable and more reliable bus service. Improving the street lighting system will reduce the city’s energy consumption and carbon footprint, and enhance road security and safety at night.

Catarina Björlin Hansen, EBRD Head of Moldova, said: “We are proud to reaffirm our commitment to Balti with this second follow-on investment since the city developed its Green City Action Plan in 2021. Resource efficiency, decarbonisation, accessibility and infrastructure modernisation are key priorities for us in Balti. This project will help to keep trolleybuses as the backbone of the transport system, connect the city better and provide accessible public transport for all. Modernising the lighting infrastructure will help provide a safe environment for all citizens of Balti.”

Nicolai Grigorisin, Mayor of Balti, said: “The project is a much-needed investment for the city’s residents. Expanding the fleet will connect rural areas with the city centre more effectively and provide a sustainable transport service that is accessible to all. Investing in the lighting infrastructure will increase coverage of the city and significantly improve energy efficiency. This is an important investment for Balti considering the recent energy crisis.”

The E5P is a multi-donor fund founded by Sweden and managed by the EBRD. The EU is the largest contributor and Sweden is the largest bilateral donor. Other donors include the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania and the Slovak Republic.

The project is also being supported by technical cooperation funds financed from the Bank’s own funds and the Sustainable Infrastructure Fund (the donors to which are Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, TaiwanBusiness-EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund and the United Kingdom).

Balti joined the flagship EBRD Green Cities programme in 2019, becoming its twenty-ninth member. Moldova’s capital, Chisinau, joined the programme in 2016.

The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Moldova, having invested more than €2 billion in 168 projects to date.

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