The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has announced a loan of 4.6 million euros to the city of Balti in northern Moldova for public transport and street lighting infrastructure investments, after an agreement was signed between the bank and the city on 14 September.
The investment, which totals seven million euros, will be complemented by a 2.4 million euro grant provided by the Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P) Fund, to which the EU is the largest contributor.
The investment is expected to provide 22 battery-powered trolleybuses and modernise the street lighting system of six priority streets in Moldova’s second-largest city. The new buses can operate with battery support in areas of the city that do not have overhead wires, expanding the service area. Renewing the trolleybus fleet also addresses a key priority for Balti, enabling it to move towards a greener, more comfortable and more reliable bus service, the EBRD noted in a press release.
Improving the street lighting system is expected to reduce the city’s energy consumption and carbon footprint, and enhance road security and safety at night.
“We are proud to reaffirm our commitment to Balti with this second follow-on investment since the city developed its Green City Action Plan in 2021. Resource efficiency, decarbonisation, accessibility and infrastructure modernisation are key priorities for us in Balti. This project will help to keep trolleybuses as the backbone of the transport system, connect the city better and provide accessible public transport for all. Modernising the lighting infrastructure will help provide a safe environment for all citizens of Balti,” said Catarina Björlin Hansen, EBRD Head of Moldova.
The E5P is a multi-donor fund founded by Sweden and managed by the EBRD. The EU is the fund’s largest contributor with Sweden as its largest bilateral donor. Countries from Central and Eastern Europe (Czechia, Estonia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia) are also among the fund’s donors. Additionally, the project is supported by technical cooperation funds financed from the EBRD’s own funds and the Sustainable Infrastructure Fund.
“The project is a much-needed investment for the city’s residents. Expanding the fleet will connect rural areas with the city centre more effectively and provide a sustainable transport service that is accessible to all. Investing in the lighting infrastructure will increase coverage of the city and significantly improve energy efficiency. This is an important investment for Balti considering the recent energy crisis,” said Nicolai Grigorisin, Mayor of Balti
Balti joined the flagship EBRD Green Cities programme in 2019, becoming its twenty-ninth member, while Moldova’s capital Chisinau joined the programme in 2016.