November 15 (Renewables Now) - The European Investment Bank (EIB) said Thursday it will end financing for unabated fossil fuel projects, including gas, from end-2021 and align all financing activities with the Paris Agreement goals from the end of 2020.
Under its new energy lending policy, the bank will prioritise energy efficiency, boost support for low- or zero-carbon technology, and provide more financing for decentralised energy projects, innovative energy storage and electromobility. It will support grid upgrades and expansions that will connect more wind and solar, and work to strengthen cross-border interconnections. The EIB will also aim to help the energy transformation outside the EU.
In the same announcement, the bank said it is reducing the Emissions Performance Standard, which is part of the EIB Energy Lending Criteria. It will fall to 250 grams of CO2 emissions per kWh from 550 grams previously.
Again on Thursday, the EIB Board of Directors gave the thumbs-up to a new climate action and environmental sustainability strategy with three key elements:
-- EUR 1 trillion of investments by the EIB Group in climate action and environmental sustainability between 2021 and 2030;
-- 50% share of financing dedicated to climate action and environmental sustainability in the bank's operations in 2025;
-- Full alignment of the EBI Group's financing activities with the principles and goals of the Paris agreement by end-2020;
“The EU bank has been Europe’s climate bank for many years. Today it has decided to make a quantum leap in its ambition. We will stop financing fossil fuels and we will launch the most ambitious climate investment strategy of any public financial institution anywhere,” said EIB President Werner Hoyer.
In the last five years, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy distribution projects have received over EUR 65 billion of EIB financing. On Friday, the bank announced EUR 1.5 billion (USD 1.65bn) of additional financing in these sectors, including for wind farms in Austria and Lebanon, solar power generation in Spain, and small-scale projects in France, Kazakhstan, the South Caucasus, Latin America and Africa.