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Belgrade waste-to-energy project reaches financial close

The Belgrade waste-to-energy project in Vinča, which will provide the 1.7 million inhabitants of the Serbian capital with a modern waste management system, has reached financial close, reported the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The new facility will replace Europe’s largest unmanaged landfill, located just 15 kilometres from the centre of Belgrade and holding more than 10 million tonnes of waste after more than four decades of operation. The site will be fully remediated with a new sanitary landfill, a waste-to-energy plant and a modern facility to process construction and demolition waste.

This landmark 370 million euros project is one of the largest public-private partnerships (PPPs) in Serbia to date and brings private funding and expertise to a public sector project. A total of 290 million euros in debt is provided by a pool of lenders with the EBRD contributing a 128.25 million euros syndicated loan.

Construction of the new facilities started in October 2019 and continued throughout the recent public health measures in Serbia.

“Serbia has responded quickly and decisively to the pandemic and we are heartened that the country is now re-emerging with the same determination and will to succeed,” commented Zsuzsanna Hargitai, EBRD Regional Director for the Western Balkans and Head of Serbia. “Continuing the work at the Vinča landfill demonstrates the joint priority of the public and private partners and their lenders such as the EBRD to create a clean and healthy environment.”

The new landfill will be EU-compliant, with modern waste-management and treatment technology. Replacing the existing landfill will also address a major environmental and health risk, including the pollution of the nearby river Danube. The 103 megawatts (MW) waste-to-energy facility will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the dependence of Belgrade on fossil fuels. It will have the capacity for a volume of approximately 340,000 tonnes per year of household waste, while the construction and demolition waste facility will treat 200,000 tonnes per year.

“This is a milestone project which will change people’s lives in Serbia,” added Susan Goeransson, EBRD Director for Infrastructure, Europe. “It will address pressing environmental challenges as well as introducing a new dimension in generating energy. It demonstrates the EBRD’s commitment to vital infrastructure development, which today is more pressing than ever.”

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