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Austrian utility Energie Steiermark has secured a EUR90 million green loan to finance its sustainable investment projects.

Energie Steiermark will use the green loan to expand its grid network, integrate more renewable energy capacity and accelerate consumer energy efficiency projects.

The utility will leverage the green loan to adopt emerging technologies such as energy storage, wind energy and solar energy.

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The loan is EIB’s second and will only fund projects that are fully in-line with the requirements of the Climate Awareness Bonds programme.

Projects will need to focus on carbon emissions reduction, improving the security of energy supply and be able to help the utility and country to combat climate change.

The EIB has plans to fund climate action projects worth €1 billion over the next ten years.

Clean energy funding is a hot topic set for discussion at the European Utility Week and POWERGEN EUROPE conference. Click here to register to attend or more information about the event.

The aim is to help countries in the EU to achieve sustainability and decarbonisation goals.

Christian Purrer, Energie Steiermark’s Board Spokesman, said: “Our group not only provides concepts but also makes measurable contributions to achieving the Paris climate targets and the EU's Green Deal. We are very pleased that this is being acknowledged by the loan from European Investment Bank and that we are sending out a concrete and clear sustainability message. This operation confirms our successful renewable energy strategy.

"We're not just talking about climate protection, we are taking action. Our green investment and innovation package also provides a strong boost to the regional economy, with more than 80% of orders going to Austrian companies. It will substantially support the achievement of the objectives of the Austrian ‘Mission 2030’ climate and energy strategy and bring it into line with Styria as a business hub.”

Energie Steiermark’s CFO Martin Graf reiterated: “With this Green Loan and the focus on green financing, we are playing a pioneering role in Europe. Sustainable projects also need sustainable financing. Over the next few years, we will invest around EUR 1 billion in the expansion of renewable, CO2-free energy systems and in the development of our smart grids. The main issues here are digitalisation, increased efficiency and new storage technologies.

“After a comprehensive market analysis of capital market developments relating to green bonds, green debt certificates and green loans, a conscious decision was made "in favour of the EIB’s product because it is the most environmentally and economically sustainable."

With its headquarters in Graz, Energie Steiermark is the fourth-largest energy and service company in Austria and focuses on sustainability and renewable energy. The company achieved a turnover of  €1.26 billion in 2017 with 1 800 employees and serves around 600 000 customers. It relies exclusively on renewable hydro, wind, solar and biomass energy sources for power generation.