The EBRD is committed to helping countries switch from coal to cleaner fuels and renewable energy.
The Bank has already invested over €12 billion under its flagship Sustainable Energy Initiative, supporting both demand and supply side energy efficiency investments as well a renewable energy investments. These investments have included more than € 1 billion of financing for new cleaner combined cycle and high efficient gas generation.
The new Energy Strategy also states that the Bank will continue to help countries switch from coal to gas. Just days before the new strategy was approved, the EBRD arranged a loan for Russia's InterRAO for €280 million equivalent in roubles to move away from old coal-fired power plants in the Urals' industrial heartland, by decommissioning them and switching to a much more efficient and environmentally friendly combined-cycle gas turbine.
The strategy emphasises that EBRD will not finance coal fired generation except in rare and exceptional circumstances.
“The Bank is committed to supporting the low-carbon transition in its countries of operations; this entails promoting alternatives to carbon-intensive coal-fired generation.” the new strategy says.
Specifically, the Bank recognises circumstances justifying financing coal projects in a country such as Mongolia. The country needs to heat homes in the winter which renewable electricity cannot do. It has access to no other fuel and it needs to replace old coal plants which are environmentally disastrous. It needs highly-efficient, modern combined heat and power plants built according to the best available standards.
The new strategy defines a strict tripartite test for screening any rare and exceptional investment in coal-fired generation, based on the following criteria:
• The infrastructure being considered must be the least carbon-intensive of the realistically available options.
• The infrastructure must use best available techniques (BAT)…. in order to ensure that it achieves the lowest feasible carbon intensity
• The plant must also comply with the IED (EU Industrial Emissions Directive, (2010/75/EU) requirements in relation to carbon capture and storage readiness.
The detailed test is outlined in chapter 5.6.3 of the strategy.