Bankwatch Mail 62
Bankwatch Mail | 14 May 2015
Published on the heels of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s annual meeting in Tbilisi, the red thread of Issue 62 of Bankwatch Mail is a slew of energy projects with grim implications for people and planet – from the crackdown on dissent in Azerbaijan to the destruction of a national park in Macedonia to a (partial) success for nuclear safety in Ukraine.
- Citing 33 safety issue failings, at the end of April Ukraine’s nuclear regulator took the decision to suspend operations at Unit 2 of the South Ukraine nuclear power plant by a May 12 deadline, the date marking the end of the plant’s design lifetime. Under the terms of the Ukrainian State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate Council’s decision, should the state-owned nuclear energy operator Energoatom wish to resume the unit’s operations beyond its design lifetime it will have to implement all necessary measures by May 2017.
- With construction of the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP) in Turkey getting under way, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) consortium awarding contracts for the construction of access infrastructure in Albania, and Russian pipeline plans lagging behind, the Southern Corridor for Azerbaijan’s gas exports to Europe is increasingly looking like a done deal. Or at least that is what the project promoters would have us believe.
- The economic model with which the EBRD operates often fails to understand and respond to the development challenges of Arab countries.
- For Shuakhevi as with other large dams recently built or planned in Georgia, it all adds up for western planners and financiers. The final bill for the Georgian population and environment, though, is still a long way from being finalised.
- In the run-up to this year’s annual meeting in Tbilisi, the EBRD has taken to social media, via the hashtag #Georgia15, to invite Twitter users to share “beautiful photos of Georgia with a global audience”. Here is Bankwatch’s slightly different contribution.
- Macedonia’s Mavrovo national park is the largest and richest national park in the country and home to the critically endangered Balkan Lynx. The Macedonian government, however, has plans to also make Mavrovo the home for two large and around 20 small hydro power plants, one with financial support from the EBRD.
- Western Balkan countries have ambitious plans to increase their electricity generation over the next years. But what will happen if they all become a regional energy hub? Will there be a demand for all the available electricity?
- Earlier this year, Serbian media reported that the EBRD was considering providing a new EUR 200 million loan for the financial restructuring of the state-owned electric utility power company of Serbia, EPS. The EBRD Director for Serbia, Mateo Patrone, was quoted by B92.net saying that the loan is aimed at helping the financial restructuring of EPS. Meanwhile, the EBRD’s country strategy for Serbia, approved by its board of directors last April, highlights the bank’s “key role in promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy” for the country.
- In July 2013 the EBRD approved its second loan in Tunisia, to Serinus Energy. With the EBRD investment portfolio in Tunisia standing at the end of 2014 at EUR 212 million the Serinus Energy loan represents roughly 25 percent of all EBRD loans in Tunisia to date and is the only loan to have gone to the country’s natural resources and energy sector. With such a significance, therefore, surely the EBRD would make every effort to ensure that the project meets the Performance Requirements of its own Environmental and social policy (from 2008) and that it demonstrates a positive transition impact for Tunisia?