Delegation of the European Union to Albania

03/12/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/12/2019 10:21

Ambassador Soreca’s speech at the EBRD launching event on Green Economy Financing Facility (GEFF) in Albania

Dear Minister Denaj,

Dear EBRD Colleagues,

Dear partners,

Energy Efficiency is often described as the EU's biggest energy resource. Reducing the use of energy is the most competitive, cost effective and widely available way to lower emissions. It helps economic growth and enhances energy security as it decreases our dependency on foreign energy sources. This is why the EU has set itself ambitious energy savings targets for 2020 and 2030, and that the principle of 'energy efficiency first' is at the heart of the Commission's 'Energy Union'.

With the facility launched today, the European Union shows its commitment to implement the Energy Union in Albania and to make its economy greener for the benefits of all citizens.

Thanks to the European Union, the Western Balkans will contribute to achieve 1.6 Terra Watt Hours per year in energy savings. This might not mean much to you, but it is the equivalent of over 4 months of electricity consumption for the whole of Albania per year.

In this process, we have labelled 36 'Green Banks' all over the Western Balkans - meaning we have provided the toolkits, consultants, and know-how for them to serve you with 'green' loans.

The excellent coordination of efforts with the Energy Community Secretariat, the International Financial Institutions, bilateral donors, civil society, and of course the WB6 energy ministers have allowed this impressive result. Working together has really been a best practice in avoiding overlaps and identifying the gaps to be covered together.

Monetary incentives are of course extremely important to stimulate investments in energy efficiency. But the Albanian Government also need to focus on reforming national legislation in line with the EU acquis, reforming the energy market, creating a market for energy services and setting up an energy efficiency fund.

The setting up of the Energy Efficiency Agency in 2016 was a very good first step. We are now supporting the Agency through Technical Assistance to raise its capacities. However, the Albanian Government will need to invest more in sustainable infrastructure and encourage greener-innovative technologies.

The EBRD Green Energy Finance Facility, which we are launching today, is an essential piece of the puzzle. Through the Regional Energy Efficiency Programme (REEP Plus), the EU is supporting the facility to incentivise investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy in Albania and the region. We are focusing on the 'hardest nut to crack', namely energy efficiency investments in the residential sector. To increase chances of success, the Green Energy Finance Facility combines credit lines to local partner banks with significant technical assistance, as well as investment incentives.

The EU contribution focusing on the residential sector will help bring 85 million euro in 'energy efficiency' loans to the region, out of which 9 million have already been committed to Albania alone.

This will allow the citizens of Albania to modernise their windows, doors and boilers and to invest in technologies that will provide energy-savings to households. It doesn't get more concrete than this. If you are living in an individual household, and want to get a loan for energy -saving refurbishments, the EBRD loan will make it 15 to 20% cheaper.

Throughout the Western Balkans, the Green Energy Finance Facility is expected to cut more than 21,000 tons in CO2 per year. It will make a significant contribution towards National Energy Efficiency Action Plans and help reduce emission. We estimate that around 30,000 households in the Western Balkans will benefit. This will also have considerable effect on purchasing power, as at least 50% of the population in the region spends more than 10% of their net income on energy.

The Energy Union was one of the 10 priorities of the Juncker Commission. It has delivered beyond expectations in the past 5 years. We need to seize this momentum to include the Western Balkans into this societal transition. Energy intensity in the Western Balkan is way too high compared to the EU, but it also means that the energy efficiency potential here is unrivalled.

A year ago, we adopted the strategy for the Western Balkans and promised to expand the Energy Union in all its dimensions to the region. The launch of the Green Energy Finance Facility today is an important step forward. It shows that the EU is delivering on its commitment to the region.

So, together, let's fully implement the Energy Union in the Western Balkans, for the job opportunities offered by the green economy, for the sake of the environment, and of course to the benefit of our and future generations.