Industrial production in the first quarter of 2021, compared to last year, increased by 10 percent. Serbian industries are in projected long-term growth, leading to power consumption increase. Issues of air, water and soil quality are becoming increasingly important for the Serbian public.
Even though many companies understand that more efficient technologies and processes can be good for business, the economy and the environment, they are often reluctant to take the first step forward, due to financial instability of the local market exacerbated by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has launched the GEFF (Green Economy Financing Facility) Serbia Leasing facility to help companies overcome these hurdles and undertake green investments. GEFF Serbia Leasing provides technical assistance and support to increase the understanding of how efficient technologies help companies reduce energy, water and resource consumption, cut costs and become more competitive in the market. It provides companies with the opportunity to implement green technologies using the advantage of leasing financing.
More than 100 companies have already taken advantage of the benefits of GEFF Serbia Leasing, implementing new technologies in their business via a competitive leasing offer delivered by UniCredit Leasing, partner financial institution in the project.
the agricultural cooperative Graničar, which also upgraded their equipment via GEFF Serbia leasing by procuring four modern, efficient tractors. The four new tractors acquired by Graničar reduce CO2 emissions by 62 tons per year. This investment reduces primary energy consumption (diesel fuel) by 256 MWh, thus saving to the cooperative €20,400 annually.
“For efficient agricultural production, it is imperative to modernise equipment and machinery fleet regularly. At Graničar, we follow this principle and in 2020, we invested €1million for this purpose. Next year we plan to construct a cold storage system, to expand our apple export business to Russia and other markets,” said Janjko Nikolić, a director of Graničar cooperative.
Nikolić also emphasised that companies and farmers must do their best to reduce their environmental impact to achieve sustainable agricultural production. That is why investments in more environmentally-friendly equipment and machines, as well as responsible management of the land are at the forefront of Graničar’s priority list.
The European Union has made progress in decarbonisation – most member states will have phased out coal by the end of the next decade, and the plan is for the Union to complete the process of decarbonisation in 2050, that is to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Serbia, along with the countries of the Western Balkans, has agreed to follow that plan, and improve its energy efficiency. Set of energy laws have been adopted and long-term strategy is in preparation. Industrial technology modernisation is important aspect in overall energy savings and pollution reduction. More efficient use of energy means less combusted coal and smaller environmental impact.
- To produce 1 kWh of electricity, 1.5 kg of Kolubara lignite has to be dug up, transported and combusted, and 3 kg of tailings have to be displaced
- Serbia is the country with the highest percentage of coal of low calorific value (lignite) in electricity production, about 65 percent. EU average dropped to around 20 percent in 2020
- Losses in electrical energy distribution system in Serbia are around 15 percent. In EU this figure is around 10 percent
The EBRD’s Green Economy Financing Facility in Serbia (GEFF Serbia Leasing) is a credit line of up to €40 million for financing green economy in transition (GET) investments of businesses through participating Leasing Companies. The facility, realised with the support of donors: the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Government of Luxembourg, was launched in early 2020. Financing of €20 million is available through UniCredit Leasing Serbia for investments in climate and green economy projects. So far, the Facility has built a portfolio worth more than €15.3 million, with additional €3 million worth equipment being currently assessed.
The selection and application process is made simple and easy. Companies can choose from the catalogue of preselected equipment available online through GEFF Green Technology Selector, an efficient tool containing more than 1,000 registered products from over 450 suppliers.
In cooperation with partner financial institution UniCredit Leasing, the Facility has helped Serbian businesses realise more than 175 green investments so far.