European bank awards more funds to 185-MW Avce, Slovenia renewables

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has awarded 393 million euros (US$557.8 million) for energy projects in Slovenia, including a 13 million euro (US$18.4 million) loan to complete construction of the 185-MW Avce pumped-storage project.

The EIB allotted the funds as part of an initiative to promote European Union clean energy goals. A loan of 350 million euros (US$496.8 million) will modernize and increase efficiency of lignite-fired generation. Another 30 million euros (US$42.5 million) is to finance small and medium-sized investments with environmental benefits, including renewable energy projects.

The Avce project is being built at Kanal, Slovenia, on the Soca River, by Slovenian utility Slovenske Elektrarne and its subsidiary Soske Elektrarne Nova Gorica d.o.o. Slovenian Prime Minister Anton Rop laid the foundation stone marking the start of construction in 2006.

EIB previously approved a 43 million euro (US$51 million) loan for construction and operation of the project, the bank’s first financing in Slovenia’s energy sector. Soske Elektrarne named the Slovenia consortium of Primorje d.d Ajdovscina and SCT Ljubljana to perform civil construction of Avce and a consortium of Melco, Rudis, and Sumitomo to supply pump-turbine and motor-generator equipment. (HNN 8/21/07)

EIB launches other clean energy initiatives

During an EIB Forum in Ljubljana, EIB also launched the European Post 2012 Carbon Fund, the first carbon fund aimed at underpinning the market value of carbon credits after the Kyoto Protocol to stem greenhouse gases expires in 2012.

�Using alternative energies means employing technology and capital in order to exploit free and renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind, wave, or geothermal reserves,� EIB President Philippe Maystadt said. �Moving toward a low-carbon economy therefore ultimately means the large-scale employment of capital. The EIB is ready to take up this challenge.�

With ongoing cooperation of EIB, Spain’s Instituto de Credito Oficial, Germany’s KfW Bankengruppe, and the Nordic Investment Bank, the fund is to support environmentally beneficial projects including renewable energy, energy efficiency, forestry, and methane capture by acquiring carbon credits in the period 2013-2022. The first signing of the fund is targeted at 100 million euros (US$141.9 million).

EIB said it also will invest 25 million euros (US$35.4 million) in the DIF Renewable Energy Fund, focused on equity financing of renewable energy in northwestern Europe, mainly in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. It also will invest 25 million euros in the Enercap Power Fund, financing projects using renewable energy in central and southeastern Europe, with a focus on Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, and Croatia.

EBRD to help fund Enercap Power Fund

EIB’s fellow lender, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), announced October 10 that it also would be funding the Enercap Power Fund, initially contributing 20 million euros (US$28.4 million).

EBRD said an additional 40 million euros (US$56.8 million) would come from institutional investors in a first round of funding due by mid-October.

EBRD said it also is sharply increasing investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy within the Sustainable Energy Initiative launched in May 2006. Previous EBRD investments in renewable energy have included a major syndicated loan to a hydropower complex in Russia (HNN 7/31/06) and renewable energy investments in Armenia and Bulgaria. (HNN 2/23/07)

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