The EBRD has launched an initiative to address the wasteful and polluting use of energy, a legacy of centrally planned economies that causes environmental and economic damage and contributes disproportionately to climate change. The initiative will include substantial additional investment, as well as promotion of sustainable energy to be funded by donors.

Under the new Sustainable Energy Initiative, the EBRD will invest up to €1.5bn in energy efficiency, renewables and clean energy projects over the next three years, which could lead to up to €5bn of total investment.

Energy efficiency investments in industrial projects, which are readily cost-recoverable with a clear business case, will be scaled up. The initiative will also support development of the business case for renewable technologies in the region.

The initiative aims to mobilise an added €100mn of funding from donor governments to help increase awareness of the returns on investment from energy efficiency measures and to help the bank to make the business case for cleaner energy technologies, including renewable energy, fuel switching and clean coal technologies. It will aim to reduce barriers to investment through policy dialogue, information, energy audits and feasibility studies.

The initiative reflects the priority of the G-8, the EU and many countries of operations to address the issue of energy waste, energy security, climate change, and the need for cleaner sources of energy.

The EBRD region is one of the fastest-growing parts of the world, and has a growing appetite for energy. Oil-rich or import-dependent, all the countries could improve their economy as well as preserve resources by using energy more efficiently and building the potential for use of non-fossil fuels.

It is estimated that the EBRD region uses up to seven times more energy per unit of GDP than western Europe and if the whole region had the energy efficiency of Europe, the world would consume 7.2% less energy.

The Sustainable Energy Initiative will focus on energy efficiency and the reduction of carbon intensity, by:

  •  Accelerating the pace of energy efficiency direct investment by large industrial energy users in the region thereby helping to reduce carbon emissions.
  •  Expanding energy efficiency credit lines to SMEs and small renewable energy projects.
  •  Supporting the development of cleaner energy supplies in power and natural resources projects.
  •  Supporting the development and financing of renewable energy projects.
  •  Investing in projects to increase the energy efficiency and reduce the carbon emissions of district heating and urban transport.
  •  Supporting the development of the carbon market in the countries of operations.

The EBRD already has a track record in working for energy efficiency and protection of the environment:

  •  It has invested close to €680mn in 2001-05 in projects with energy efficiency components.
  •  It has invested a further €406mn in the same period in power projects with reduced carbon emissions.