The FINANCIAL — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is presenting a newly developed energy management manual as part of its work under the Belarus Sustainable Energy Finance Facility (BelSEFF) designed to support projects in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
The manual, which will be unveiled during seminars in Minsk and Brest, will act as a guide for local businesses which are interested in introducing an energy management system. Once introduced, the system may help them reduce between 10 and 30 per cent of their total energy consumption, thus significantly lowering their energy-related costs and improving the environmental impact of their operations, according to EBRD.
The BelSEFF, which was launched in 2012, provides dedicated credit lines to local partner banks to finance local small and medium-sized private businesses as well as eligible state sector companies. It has, to date, supported 47 projects worth US$ 17.2 million across the country, resulting in energy savings of around US$ 8 million of fuel imports and an annual reduction of CO2 emissions equivalent to annual emissions of 6,300 people.
The manual was developed by a consortium of consultants funded by the Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic through its ODA Trust Fund. It addresses the fundamentals of energy management, offers guidance on how to implement international best practices in energy management standards and develop energy efficiency projects.
Francis Delaey, the EBRD’s Head of Office in Belarus, said: “Energy consumption in Belarus against GDP is still 2.5 times higher than on average in the European Union. This country urgently needs to adopt a more efficient energy management model. This is particularly relevant for those Belarusian companies that want to successfully compete in new markets like the European Union. The reduction of their production costs through a variety of energy efficiency measures may hold the key to their future success.”
In the countries where it invests, the EBRD is a market leader in promoting investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Its business model for climate finance combines commercial project financing, technical assistance through market analysis, energy audits, training, awareness-building, policy dialogue to improve the regulatory framework for these investments, and grant co-financing.
In 2014 alone, 34 per cent of the Bank’s €8.9 billion investment across 35 countries was in sustainable energy. Since the launch of its Sustainable Energy Initiative in 2006, the Bank has invested €16.7 billion in almost 1,000 sustainable energy projects which range from support for wind, solar and hydropower generation to investments in industrial and residential resource efficiency, green transport, municipal infrastructure, better energy transmission and cleaner power plants.
The EBRD is a major investor in Belarus. As of 1 June 2015 the Bank had invested €1.7 billion spread over 70 projects, most of which are in the private sector.