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    EBRD to Work on Shift from Coal in W Balkans


The green bank will have to decide whether gas that replaces coal is a justifiable investment.

by: William Powell

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EBRD to Work on Shift from Coal in W Balkans

The European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) is to lead the financial arrangements that will underpin the transition from coal in western Balkans, it said October 16. This may include its own financing as well.

The bank is aiming to be a majority green investor from 2025, but accelerating a shift from coal might be considered a good use of its money. There might be no firm renewable energy available by that date, and the region, struggling economically, might not have much room for green hydrogen. 

Apart from coal, the region also has some nuclear generation, but there is also a number of gas interconnectors that will allow it to source gas from other suppliers than Gazprom. And Albania is a transit country for the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, bringing Caspian Sea gas to Italy later this year.

Participants in the Platform Initiative will work together to plan and prepare for the transition in the region which consists of former Yugoslavia and one or two neighbouring countries with small gas demand. They will also facilitate ‘matchmaking’ with financial resources where possible, to help identify and implement pilot projects that support the decarbonisation objectives of these regions. 

The coal industry will be heavily involved, along with state, regional and local authorities, trade unions and others.

EBRD Director for Energy Efficiency and Climate Change Terry McCallion said: “We have recently launched our new Green Economy Transition (GET) approach which aims to accelerate the transition to green, low-carbon and resilient economies, and to contribute to achieving a net zero carbon world by 2050. The Platform Initiative in Support of Coal Regions in Transition for western Balkans and Ukraine fits perfectly with this approach, which recognises the pivotal role of a just transition, knowledge sharing and regional and global partnerships in building a sustainable future. We are therefore proud to lead on the financing component of this initiative.”

The EBRD Green Economy Transition (GET) approach 2021-2025 aims to make the majority of the EBRD’s investments green by 2025, now the EBRD has met the target of an earlier GET approach to raise the proportion of green investments to 40% from 24% in 2015.

For more on the region, the present energy mix and the prospects for greater use of non-Russian gas, see this feature published in the current issue of NGW