EIB urged to dump coal in energy policy review
Bankwatch Mail | 14 May 2012
The European Investment Bank has announced that it will commence a review of its energy policy – “Clean energy for Europe: A reinforced EIB contribution” – in the second half of 2012. Bankwatch welcomed the announcement as the current policy, adopted in June 2007, needs to be brought up to speed and aligned with the latest developments in EU energy and climate policies.
This article is from Issue 52 of our quarterly newsletter Bankwatch Mail
Bankwatch’s most recent research into the EIB’s energy lending operations revealed that the bank’s lending to fossil fuel based projects still remains significant and constitutes around one third of the bank’s total energy lending. In the new EU member states in particular the EIB has supported mostly high-carbon energy, trapping these countries in unsustainable energy systems. Although the biggest share of the EIB’s fossil fuel lending goes to natural gas projects, under its current energy policy the EIB has also financed several coal fired power plants in Germany, Poland and Slovenia.
Fundamentally, the current EIB energy policy is not strict enough to exclude financing to projects that undermine EU efforts to achieve a low carbon economy. In this context, for the purpose of multiplying benefits for the EU as a whole, the EIB should more strongly prioritise projects that meet the requirements of all the pillars of the EU’s energy policy, such as energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. These reduce EU dependency on imported hydrocarbons, contribute to sustainability and are fully cost competitive, especially when factoring in social and environmental externalities.
Anna Roggenbuck, Bankwatch’s EIB co-ordinator, is optimistic about the forthcoming policy review: “Revision of the EIB’s energy policy provides an opportunity to shift its lending more emphatically towards energy efficiency and renewable energy, especially in the central and eastern European region. Bankwatch will be proposing that the EIB immediately stop coal investments, and a plan to phase out all fossil fuel lending should be prepared and implemented as quickly as possible. EIB capital from fossil fuel investments can also be redirected towards green projects instead.
“The EIB energy policy deserves a thorough and transparent revision with meaningful stakeholder consultation. We would like to see the bank follow the best standards of public consultation it applied for the recent revision of its Transparency Policy. On that occasion we saw two rounds of consultations that permitted stakeholders to provide their opinion on the policy solutions that the EIB proposed in its draft policy text.”