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EBRD draft strategy rules out support for Kosovo coal-fired power plant

EBRD draft strategy rules out support for Kosovo coal-fired power plant Author: Mrs. Gemstone. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

PRISTINA (Kosovo), November 14 (SeeNews) – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has issued a draft energy sector strategy that it will not finance coal projects, it said on Wednesday, following a statement by an environmental group that the international lender is not considering support for a coal-fired power plant project in Kosovo.

“We have issued a draft Energy Sector Strategy saying that we will not finance coal. This remains a draft and is subject to a final vote and approval by our Board in December,” an EBRD official said in a statement emailed to SeeNews.

However, the official said the EBRD is as committed as ever to support Kosovo in securing sustainable, reliable and affordable energy.  “We work across a number of areas to do that, including energy efficiency, strengthening the electricity grid and renewables,” he noted.

On Tuesday, one of the largest environmental groups in central and eastern Europe, CEE Bankwatch Network, said EBRD has confirmed it will not finance the construction of the Kosovo e Re coal-fired plant in Kosovo, the country's biggest energy project.

“In an e-mailed statement responding to an enquiry from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), an EBRD spokesperson said the EBRD indeed is not considering this project,” CEE Bankwatch Network said.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim too has said the bank will not back the power plant in Kosovo, according to local media.

“We have made a very firm decision not to go forward with the coal power plant,” Kosovo public broadcaster RTK quoted Jim Yong Kim as saying in early October.

In December 2017, Kosovo's government signed an agreement with ContourGlobal to launch the construction of Kosova e Re. The new power plant will be operational by 2023 and is expected to cost around 1.3 billion euro ($1.5 billion), Kosovo's economy and development ministry said at the time. The life span of the future power plant is estimated at 40 years.

The plant will replace the 40-year-old Kosovo A plant and is seen as the only solution to the country's chronic air pollution and unreliable power supplies.

"The power plant will bring a stable energy supply, significantly lower pollution and provide economic growth," ContourGlobal said.

ContourGlobal is an international power-generation company with approximately 4,305 MW in operation in 18 countries. It operates a portfolio of 100 thermal and renewable power plants across Europe, Latin America, and Africa utilizing a wide range of technologies.

($ = 0.8882 euro)