The EBRD, the EU and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance have launched a joint programme to support energy efficiency investment in the residential housing sector in BiH. The EBRD has committed a total of €17 million to Unicredit Bank Mostar, Unicredit Bank Banja Luka and Sparkasse Bank, which the banks will use to on-lend to clients investing in energy efficiency projects in residential buildings.
As it was announced, the EBRD funding is provided under its Green Economy Financing Facility which delivers climate finance to the Bank’s countries of operations via local banking systems. “Energy intensity in BiH is on average three times higher than the level seen in the EU. The residential housing sector contributes significantly to this intensity, with an estimated 80 per cent of residential buildings requiring renovation. Consequently, the potential for energy efficiency investment and savings is high. The Green Economy Financing Facility in BiH combines technical expertise with finance and targeted incentives to support investment in high-performing, environmentally friendly technologies. The goal is to contribute to the development of a sustainable market for green investment in the residential housing sector”, said EBRD in press release.
The facility is supported by grant funding from the European Western Balkans Joint Fund under the Western Balkans Investment Framework, and from the EU and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance. The funds will, as EBRD explained, serve to promote the expansion of green lending to households in BiH. Financing will be complemented with a wide-reaching awareness campaign to further promote green solutions and efficient energy use.
“This financing will lead to meaningful improvements in the daily lives of people in BiH: these investments will allow them to save money through lower energy bills, while also ensuring that their homes are more comfortable. In addition, it will contribute significantly to our goal of building a greener future for the country and the region” said Ian Brown, the EBRD’s Head of Office in Sarajevo.
Head of EU Delegation and EU Special Representative in BiH, Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, underscored the importance of continued energy efficiency investments and reiterated the EU’s commitment to help economic growth and jobs in BiH.
“With this new facility launched today under the EU-funded Regional Energy Efficiency Programme for the residential sector, the EU will provide a dedicated package of incentives for energy efficiency investments in the residential sector. The EU’s contribution for the EBRD GEFF facility for the residential sector will enable citizens in BiH and in the region to refurbish windows, doors and boilers in their apartments and houses, to invest in technologies that will provide energy-savings to their households,” said Wigemark.
Leander Treppel, representative of Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance, said that his country is a strong supporter of the GEFF and is very pleased to see the launch of the facility in BiH. He added that EBRD has long-standing experience in supporting countries improving their energy efficiency and Austria is convinced that GEFF will not only help securing sustainable investments in buildings but also contribute to build up and transform the market for green investments thereby contributing to reduce CO2 emissions and improving the quality of life of people in BiH. He said that GEFF is an instrument which combines technical support and investments and promotes business opportunities for local businesses and banks.
The EBRD emphasised that it works closely with its partners to build a green economy, develop competitive businesses and boost energy savings in the countries where it invests. In total, through the Bank’s Green Economy Financing Facilities, this work has helped to reduce CO2 emissions by more than six million tonnes per year.
Through the extension of the Regional Energy Efficiency Programme (REEP Plus) for the Western Balkans, the Bank is further stepping up efforts to increase energy efficiency investment in the business and residential sectors alike, in Albania, BiH, fYROMacedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia. In total, it will make available €135 million for such investments, supported by €30 million in funding from the EU and €1.8 million from the European Western Balkans Joint Fund, as well as €3.3 million provided by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance…/IBNA