The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will lend 30 million US dollars (28.2 million euros) to ICS Premier Energy Distribution, Moldova’s largest private electricity distribution system operator, the EBRD announced on Thursday (3 March).
The loan will be used to finance the operator’s 2025 investment programme while it modernises, digitalises (digital smart grid) and upgrades the distribution grid in the central and southern parts of the country, including the capital Chisinau.
Fostering energy resilience is a key element in the EBRD’s 2023-2028 investment strategy for Moldova, the bank said.
This loan comes after Chisinau become the first Moldovan city to join the Bank’s flagship 5-billion euro urban sustainability programme, EBRD Green Cities. In its Green City Action Plan, drawn up in 2020, Chisinau identified air pollution and climate mitigation as priority environmental challenges.
Modernising the regional grid – through the EBRD’s third Green Cities project in energy and the second in Europe – will help address both, saving more than 2,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year and contributing to the reduction of losses by 21 per cent, by replacing older assets with more energy efficient ones. Over half the investment programme will focus on Chisinau and its surrounding area, the EBRD confirmed.
The loan to Premier Energy Distribution will be separated into two investment periods. 22 million US dollars (20.7 million euros) will cover Premier Energy Distribution’s investment programme through 2024. Whilst a further 8 million US dollars (7.5. million euros) will cover its 2025 programme.
The project will be co-financed by the EU’s European Investment Bank (EIB), also lending 30 million US dollars (28.7 million euros).
Premier Energy Distribution is an existing client of the EBRD and is majority owned by Emma Capital Limited, a limited liability company registered in Cyprus. It covers around 70 per cent of Moldova’s territory.
As a major institutional investor in Moldova, the EBRD focuses on strengthening the country’s energy resilience, creating an environment that supports private sector activity, promoting European standards across sectors and regional integration to bring domestic producers closer to their markets, as well as developing efficient and sustainable public utilities, the bank said.
To date, the EBRD has invested more than 2 billion euros in 159 projects in Moldova, which was granted EU candidate status last June.