Businesses in 23 countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Kosovo*, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey, benefit from Sustainable Energy Finance Facilities (SEFFs), said the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which initiated the programme. It extends credit lines to local financial institutions for on-lending to their clients from the industrial, commercial, residential and municipal sectors for investments in energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy projects.
The goal is to help countries where EBRD invests to improve energy balance and avoid greenhouse gas emissions by reducing inefficiencies and diversifying energy supplies, according to a presentation on its website. “A surprising number of sustainable energy investment opportunities are not recognized as an investment priority,” said Terry McCallion, the bank’s head for energy efficiency and climate change. “The expertise provided through our SEFFs helps identify such projects and evaluate their technical and financial potential, thereby increasing the likelihood of them being financed.”
Recognising that investing in the sustainable use of energy and other resources often represents a new area of activity, the combination of dedicated financing for admissible investments and direct support in building capacity to address market barriers has proven to be the key to successful deployment, the report adds. EBRD operates SEFFs through a network of more than 100 local financial institutions (banks, microfinance institutions and leasing companies), providing EUR 500 million in credit lines for sustainable energy projects per year, according to the press release.
Of the total number of 95,000 projects financed through SEFFs, 94% were in the residential sector. In terms of finance, however, industry and commerce received 86% of all disbursed funds, with the residential sector accounting for 11% and the municipal sector for 3%. Each EUR 1 billion of investment avoids the equivalent of carbon dioxide emissions of 2.5 million tonnes each year, the bank said.