Lebanese companies and enterprises will benefit from better and more stable supply of electricity thanks to a US$ 20 million financial package extended by the EBRD to BUTEC Utility Services S.A.L. (BUS), a private electricity distribution service provider operating in the north of the country and a member of BUTEC Group.
The funding will consist of a US$ 18 million loan by the EBRD and a US$ 2 million concessional tranche by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) in support of BUS’s far-reaching service contract for the 2018-21 period with state-owned utility company Electricité du Liban.
The package will support the upgrade and expansion of the electricity distribution network and the deployment of smart meters, directly addressing Lebanon’s urgent energy supply crisis by improving the reliability and efficiency of the distribution grid.
It will be part of a far-reaching investment programme which is not only expected to improve the quality and efficiency of the company’s services to its customers, among them some 520,000 households, but also to drastically reduce network losses and greenhouse gas emissions by 297 ktCO2/year.
BUS is one of four private electricity distribution services companies in Lebanon. It operates, maintains and rehabilitates the distribution network, collects electricity payments and manages meterings in its region.
Lebanon is part of the EBRD’s southern and eastern Mediterranean region which also includes Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, the West Bank and Gaza. In only six years, the EBRD has invested over €8 billion in 195 projects across the region, including five projects in Lebanon since September 2017.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) promotes green economies in all the regions where it invests. Since 2004, it has developed strong cooperation with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) which has provided grants worth US$ 135 million for co-financing, technical cooperation and concessional finance to help the Bank address climate change and environmental degradation.
With the support of the GEF for projects ranging from renewable energy to energy efficiency and climate resilience, the EBRD is expected to invest up to US$ 1.5 billion to foster the transition to greener economies from Morocco to Mongolia, from Estonia to Egypt.
To guarantee the longer term impact of its investments, the Bank also promotes strong policies for sustainable development, focuses on mobilising private sector finance and builds the local capacity of stakeholders such as regulators, corporate sector, municipalities to adopt environmentally sensible standards.
The range of EBRD projects supported by GEF includes many different types, from large to small. For example the FINTECC (Finance and Technology Transfer Centre for Climate Change) programme helps companies to adopt “climate technologies”. The implementation of such equipment results in saving energy, water and materials as well as in using renewable energy, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and leading to more climate resilience.
In Tajikistan, X-Fit Premium gym in the capital Dushanbe saves energy and cuts costs thanks to a FINTECC investment into solar panels, LED lightings and efficient chillers. In total, the programme has already helped to save annual CO2 emissions of about 132,000 tonnes, equivalent to taking 28,000 cars off the road.
In Romania, where most residential buildings were built between 1960 and 1990 with low thermal insulation, the EBRD and GEF are supporting a credit line to help households invest in energy efficiency, renewable energy and water-saving improvements. Borrowers thorough local banks may be individual homeowners, groups, housing associations or companies providing green energy products and services. They will be able to receive free technical advice funded by GEF on low-energy solutions for complex investments.
Meanwhile in Ukraine, the EBRD and GEF helped Meest Express, a leading provider of postal and logistic services, to invest in innovations and low-carbon courier products. This includes the expansion of its network of automated collection and delivery points, the development of an IT platform and of domestic and international hubs.
EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti, taking part today in the Global Environment Facility’s Assembly in Vietnam, said: “The EBRD is delighted at its long cooperation with the GEF, which has grown steadily over the past fifteen years. The EBRD’s mandate to promote green, market-based economies and its track record in mobilising private capital are firmly aligned with the GEF’s mission.
“We now look forward to delivering even more innovative projects together and catalysing greater private sector involvement to address the systemic drivers of environmental degradation in our regions.”