The EBRD is fully committed to supporting its countries of operations in achieving secure, efficient and affordable energy supplies, while ensuring that environmental and sustainability concerns are fully addressed. International experience has shown that increased energy efficiency can be a cost-effective way to improve energy security, contribute to economic development and promote national and regional competitiveness. The EBRD has financed energy efficiency projects since its earliest years but these activities dramatically increased following the launch of the Sustainable Energy Initiative (“SEI”) in 2006 The EBRD has since prioritised improvements in energy efficiency across all of its countries of operations, and actively endeavoured to promote the supply-side and demand-side energy efficiency through investments and policy work.
The EBRD’s role
In order to enable and sustain private-sector financing in the energy efficiency sector, and to maximize the effects of relevant investments, the EBRD’s Legal Transition Programme (“LTP”) engages with the Bank’s countries of operations to support policy and legal development and strengthen regulatory frameworks. Through policy dialogue and technical assistance LTP works with governments, regulators, regional and local authorities, representatives of civil society and sector players to help create and develop an investor-friendly, transparent and predictable legal and regulatory framework that conforms to international standards and best practices. Such engagement has included assisting governments with drafting strategic policy, legal and regulatory documents reflective of international standards and best practices; carrying out industry-related analysis and drafting national energy efficiency plans for different sectors; providing support with developing primary and secondary legislation promoting EU energy efficiency standards; and strengthening capacity of relevant sector regulatory authorities.
The EBRD acts in cooperation with multilateral institutions concerned with the sustainable development of the EBRD region, such as the European Union, the World Bank Group and others. Accordingly, in its work, the LTP supports and promotes the implementation of international standards and best practices relating to energy efficiency and sustainable development. The LTP encourages the alignment of national standards and practices with the EU’s Energy Efficiency acquis communautaire.
This includes Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency, which established a common framework of measures for the promotion of energy efficiency, and introduced the obligation on each Member State to set an indicative national energy efficiency target and to achieve a certain amount of final energy savings over the 2014-2020 obligation period; Directive 2010/31/EU on energy performance of buildings; Directive 2010/30/EU on energy labelling of domestic energy-related appliances; Directive 2009/125/EC which establishes a framework for the setting of eco-design requirements for energy-related products; Directive 2006/32/EU on energy end-use efficiency and energy services, and others.
Furthermore, the EBRD actively supports the Energy Community’s mandate of extending the EU internal energy policy to the South East Europe and Black Sea region. The EBRD provides expert assistance to Contracting Parties and Candidates with regards to implementing core EU energy acquis relating to energy efficiency, renewable energy, electricity, gas, competition and the environment.
National Energy Efficiency Action Plan
Despite the prevalent awareness of the importance of introducing necessary energy efficiency standards and measures, little has been done in many of the EBRD’s countries of operations. Formulating a dedicated policy approach that includes an assessment of the energy efficiency potential and policy targets in various sectors would work towards the improvement of energy efficiency standards and measures, and ensuring their alignment with international standards and best practices.
Accordingly, through its Legal Transition Programme, the EBRD provides assistance to governments with the drafting of strategic policy documents. Such policy documents set the relevant country’s overall and intermediate national indicative energy savings targets for the public and private sectors, and work towards proposing concrete measures and actions to meet these targets, including the introduction of legal and regulatory mechanisms to ensure the implementation of the policy targets.
Energy Performance of Buildings
Buildings account for up to 40% of energy consumption in many EBRD countries of operations. A significant part of these buildings are not properly insulated or heated which results in high energy bills, inefficient energy spending, deterioration of the building fabric and poor living conditions. Despite the existence of great potential for significant energy saving, relatively little investment has been made in this area in many of the EBRD countries of operations, with the legal and regulatory framework often being a key barrier to the attraction of adequate sustainable investments.
To address these issues the Bank has developed local-bank credit lines which provide financing for energy-saving measures in a number of countries; some of these measures including insulation of outdoor walls and roofs, replacing windows, and installing heat pumps, solar thermal collectors and high-efficiency gas and biomass boilers. To enable, sustain and maximise further private-sector financing of building energy efficiency, EBRD is supporting governments in developing the necessary legal and regulatory framework for the building sector. Even though many residential buildings in the EBRD region have been privatised, the management structure (including operation and maintenance) is rarely adequate and often characterised by conflicting responsibilities between apartment owners and local state authorities (related to, for example, ownership of and responsibility for common areas of residential buildings and/or the land).
To overcome these deficiencies, LTP supports governments in introducing changes to buildings legislation and housing codes to ensure clear rights and responsibilities of stakeholders, minimum energy efficiency performance standards of stakeholders, inspection and auditing. A gradual movement to cost recovery in the energy sector and avoidance of cross subsidies is another essential component of a targeted energy efficiency policy.