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Credit lines for West Balkans

Energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in the Western Balkans are to get a boost from a EUR 110 million financial assistance program from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The Western Balkans Sustainable Energy Direct Financing Facility holds EUR 50 million for the direct funding of privately owned companies in the region. It will provide individual loans ranging from EUR 1-6 million for small renewable energy projects of up to 10 MW of installed capacity.

A second EUR 60 million facility, the Western Balkans Sustainable Energy Credit Line, will provide loans to companies and households through the banking sector, up to a maximum EUR 2 million. Both funds provide tailor-made financing and assistance from technical consultants to help develop projects. The financing includes incentive payments rewarding reductions in greenhouse gases.

Grant support for the credit lines are being provided by the European Commission, the Western Balkans Multi-Donor Fund and the EBRD's Shareholders Special Fund. The first EUR 10 million loan in Serbia has been signed with Banca Intesa Belgrade, backed by EUR 13.5 million of EU grant funding to be used to kick-start investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

Technical assistance to help end-borrowers prepare eligible projects will be funded by a EUR 2.5 million grant from the EBRD Western Balkans Multi-Donor Fund, part of the EUR 110 million total. Hopes are that the new EU/EBRD Western Balkans Sustainable Energy Credit Line will repeat the success of similar arrangements in Bulgaria and Romania. Per capita energy consumption in the Western Balkans is up to 2.5 times higher than the average across European countries in the OECD.

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