EBRD to invest 6.5 billion euros in sustainable energy

Reuters, Friday 18 May 2012

Bank begins the third phase of its Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI) with a total investment worth 15-25 billion euros

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development plans to invest up to 6.5 billion euros ($8.26 billion) in sustainable energy projects in the next three years, to deliver a significant cut in carbon emissions, it said on Friday.

The bank, which is starting the third phase of its Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI), will invest in projects worth 15-25 billion euros, with the aim of cutting emissions in its area of operations by up to 32 million tonnes a year.

The initiative, dating back to 2006, has brought EBRD investments of 9 billion euros into renewables and energy efficiency projects, delivering yearly reductions of some 49.6 million tonnes in carbon emissions, said managing director for energy efficiency and climate change Josue Tanaka .

"This is not a side window to show the EBRD cares about climate, it is one-third of what we do," Tanaka told a press conference, noting that sustainable energy accounted for 30 percent of the bank's 2011 investments.

"It may not save the world but at least it's a contribution."

The EBRD was set up in 1991 to invest in the ex-Communist states of eastern Europe but is now expanding its mandate to Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. It is holding its annual shareholder meeting in London on May 18-19.

Tanaka said he expected these countries to benefit from the third phase of SEI. All these countries are oil importers and their budgets are burdened by huge energy price subsidies.

"Energy security is a key agenda in all these countries and that's where renewable energy comes in," he said, citing solar power as a potential area of investment for the bank in North Africa.

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