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EIB to help five Balkan countries phase out coal

EIB to help five Balkan countries phase out coal

Date: December 27th 2023

Author: Maja Žuvela

Category: En.vision

Topic: Electricity , Renewables , Coal , Energy policy , CO2 emissions , Economy , Ecology , Heating , En.vision , Energy Efficiency

The European Investment Bank (EIB) plans to provide financial and technical support to five coal reliant Western Balkan countries in transitioning to a low-carbon economy, its head of regional representation told Montel.

This month the bank presented its first just resilience and just transition approach to be applied as of 2024 in nine pilot countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.

“It is designed to ensure that no one is left behind by simultaneously addressing multiple challenges, such as decarbonising the energy supply, rehabilitating the environment, diversifying the economy and reallocating workers to new activities,” Alessandro Bragonzi said in a written response to Montel.

The programme, to be implemented though EIB Global, the EIB's financial arm for activities outside the EU, will entail a combination of loans and advisory services but “the decision to invest needs to come from public and private project promoters in the countries of the Western Balkans,” he said.

Financing

Bragonzi noted that financing renewables can be costly and requires access to capital, which can be a challenge in countries with weaker economies or financial systems.

Thus, as part of its Initiative for Coal Regions in Transition, the European Commission identified 11 territories in the region that are likely to be affected. These regions are eligible to receive technical support for the preparation of programmes to support them in transitioning from coal to cleaner energy, with positive socioeconomic outcomes.

One significant area that will need to be addressed as part of this is increasing energy consumption in the region, which is expected to grow by a further 34% from 2006 to 2030, after rising 53% between 1995 and 2005, said Bragonzi.

“It is important to keep electricity consumption under control by promoting energy efficiency, electrification and demand management,” he noted.

During the initial implementation phase, which will run from 2024 to 2025, the EIB will be able to support investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, environmental regeneration and site repurposing, upskilling and job placement, and adapting the transport and communication infrastructure to the needs of a low-carbon transition.

The EIB also aims to finance a number of environmental protection and climate mitigation projects that will help modernise current energy sources by transitioning to cleaner and sustainable options like wind, solar and hydropower, Bragonzi added.



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