EUR 45 million invested in energy-saving technologies in the Western Balkans over the last four years
Thanks to the Green Economy Financing Facility (GEFF) programme in less than four years, more than 9000 households in the Western Balkans have invested around EUR 45 million in energy-saving technologies such as insulation, heat pumps, new windows or solar panels. This resulted in a reduction of CO2 emissions by more than 12 000 tonnes per year, equivalent to removing 7700 cars from the roads.
The Western Balkans GEFF was established by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) with the support of donors and provides specialised credit lines to individuals, together with incentives funded by the European Union (EU), for investments in energy efficiency. The programme is co-financed by the EU, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance, and bilateral donors to the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF). It is part of the Regional Energy Efficiency Programme (REEP) for the Western Balkans and implemented in partnership with the Energy Community Secretariat.
In March 2021 the programme was extended to Montenegro. Because of its successful regional roll-out, combined with the growing interest in energy efficiency financing, the GEFF was increased from EUR 85 million to EUR 135 million, with plans to expand the programme further in 2022. The funding will be channelled through local financial institutions and will allow even more households in the region to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
“We are enthusiastic that our support has helped so many households in the Western Balkans to invest in energy-saving improvements, leading to lower emissions and electricity costs. Combating air pollution and decreasing energy intensity are top priorities in the region and we will continue to provide support, with the GEFF as one of our key pillars for the residential sector,” said Aleksandra Vukosavljevic, EBRD Director, Financial Institutions, Western Balkans and Eastern Europe.
Households interested in investing in energy efficiency can apply for specialised credit lines at local partner financial institutions. Upon successful completion of their investment, they also receive a grant incentive worth up to 20% of the loan amount and funded by the EU. So far, the EU has contributed EUR 27 million to the programme, to support households that have invested in energy-efficient technologies in the Western Balkans, thus making those investments more affordable.
“The European Commission is ready to support the implementation of the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans. Under IPA III funding, it has programmed the allocation of EUR 500 million specifically for this purpose. The WBIF will facilitate the implementation of the Green Agenda by greening past and future investments across all its sectors as well as by prioritising investments in technologies that may accelerate the green transition,” noted Richard Masa, Head of Sector, Western Balkans Investment Framework, European Commission.
The programme also allowed cooperation with more than 4000 manufacturers and distributors of highly efficient green solutions in the Western Balkans. Vendors are listed in the Technology Selector, an online catalogue of pre-approved energy-efficient equipment obtainable on the six Western Balkans markets. The catalogue is available through the GEFF websites (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia) and features items such as thermal insulation, double-glazed windows, high-efficiency boilers, heat pumps, solar collectors or solar water heaters, and photovoltaic systems. The Technology Selector enables an easy search for technologies and services and lists matching retailers.
To honour the joint efforts of GEFF donors, partner financial institutions, and producers and vendors of green technologies, the EBRD made a donation of 1000 trees, which will be planted in the region during autumn 2021. This green award celebrates in particular the 18 partner financial institutions that joined the first phase of the programme and the 32 most active and committed vendors.
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