The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Italy's BPER Banca Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to improve energy efficiency in Italy.In a combined statement, the two banks said they will provide EUR50 million ($53.3 million) for the implementation of energy efficiency programmes by business consumers.
The EIB and the BPER Banca will provide loans for the installation of energy efficient lighting infrastructure, building energy management technologies and district heating, cooling plants and power cogeneration plants.
The $53.3 million falls under the Private Finance for Energy Efficiency (PF4EE) and Life programmes developed by the EIB and EU Commission to increase investments in the energy efficiency sector in Europe.
Under the PF4EE and the Life programmes, the EU is planning to raise EUR 1 billion in additional energy efficiency investments.
The announced $53.3 million is said to be the first financial assistance provided by the EU Commission towards energy efficiency programmes in Italy. The energy efficiency loans are expected to help Italy to meet its clean energy adoption and carbon emission reduction targets set by the EU.
Commenting on the signing of the MoU, Miguel Arias Canete, commissioner for climate action and energy in EU, said: “I welcome the agreement to make EUR 50m available to Italian small businesses. And unlocking investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency will create local jobs, protect the environment and strengthen economic growth. This is a great opportunity for Italian small businesses, and I really hope they will seize it.”
Energy efficiency loans
The news follows an announcement made in mid-February by the EU and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) that it will provide €30 million ($31.9 million) in funding to help Western Balkan states improve their energy efficiency.
The $31.9 million will be used to increase the deployment of energy efficiency initiatives under the Regional Energy Efficiency Programme (REEP) in Eastern and South-eastern European countries.
The funding is expected to improve the reliability of grid networks of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia through increased adoption of clean energy resources.
In addition to the $31.9 million, the REEP programme will receive €4.5 million ($4.7 million) from the Austrian government and the private sector to finance the drafting and implementation of policies to improve investments in clean energy and energy efficiency projects.
The REEP will use the capital to develop a new regional platform to provide funding towards energy efficiency programmes for residential consumers. [EU provides funding for Slovenian-Croatian smart grid project].
Image credit: EBRD.