EBRD invests a record €2.6bn in sustainable energy in 2011
February 14, 2012
Source: Elza Holmstedt Pell, Environmental Finance
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) invested €2.6 ($3.43) billion in sustainable energy projects in 2011.
Last year’s investments under the bank’s Sustainable Energy Initiative were up more than a fifth from the €2.1 billion invested by the EBRD in these types of projects throughout central Europe and central Asia in 2010.
Almost one-third of the bank’s total investments of €9 billion last year went to sustainable energy projects, compared with 22% in 2010, said Sergiy Grytsenko, spokesman for the EBRD.
The EBRD’s investments in this area include industrial energy efficiency, power sector energy efficiency, renewable energy and energy efficient municipal infrastructure.
“Sustainable energy investments are and will remain key to the EBRD approach to support its region, as its countries of operation need to continue to improve energy efficiency and lower energy consumption,” said Josué Tanaka, EBRD’s managing director for energy efficiency and climate change.
Josué Tanaka, EBRD
Josué Tanaka, EBRD: sustainable energy key to support central Europe and Asia
“With energy prices soaring across the world, making energy efficiency improvements is the most effective way to mitigate climate change and strengthen the region’s economic competitiveness and energy security,” he added.
The SEI receives funding from donor governments and the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund. Between 2006 and 2011, the bank invested in 369 projects in 29 countries with a total project value of €34.2 billion.
Since the initiative was launched in 2006, it has invested €6.6 billion. The bank plans to invest a further €4.5 billion to €6.5 billion over 2012-14.
In the coming years, the SEI will increase its focus on climate adaptation measures, said Grytsenko.
However, the bank’s approach to what counts as sustainable energy is “quite relaxed”, said Pippa Gallop, research coordinator of environmental group Bankwatch, adding that it needs to be tightened up in line with climate science and EU policy.
A Bankwatch paper suggests that the EBRD stops financing transmission projects that only support nuclear power, excludes projects with increased overall annual or lifetime greenhouse gas emissions, measures and publish projects’ final emissions reductions, not only projected savings, and excludes carbon-intensive transport projects that increase traffic.
“Unfortunately, there’s no indicator so far [that this will happen in 2012],” said Gallop.