The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on Monday that the financial conditions to implement the waste-to-energy project in the Belgrade suburb of Vinca have been met.
“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,” a press release said, adding that the 370 million Euro projectis one of the largest public-private partnerships (PPPs) in Serbia to date, bringing private funding and expertise to a public sector project.
According to the EBRD, a total of 290 million Euro in loans has been secured for the project. The press release specified that the EBRD is contributing a 128.25 million syndicated loan, including a loan of 72.25 million for its own account with a loan of 35 million from the Erste Group Bank AG under the A/B loan structure, and 21 million in concessional finance from the Green Energy Special Fund. “Construction of the new facilities started in October 2019 and continued throughout the recent public health measures in Serbia.
The private investors – SUEZ (France), ITOCHU Corporation (Japan) and the European fund Marguerite – made sure that project implementation continued despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19-related restrictions, and all preconditions for financial close have been met successfully,” the press release said.
“The EBRD stands united with other financiers to bring the Vinča project to its successful completion and start of operations as planned. The EBRD is also pleased to support the project implementation by extending technical assistance to the city of Belgrade for the establishment of a PPP monitoring unit and its capacity-building,” Zsuzsanna Hargitai, EBRD Regional Director, Western Balkans and Head of Serbia, said.
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 MW waste-to-energy facility will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the dependence of Belgrade on fossil fuels. It will have 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.
The new sanitary landfill, with a capacity of 170,000 tonnes per year, will be finalised by the end of 2020, while project completion and full commercial operations are expected in 2022. The EBRD financing is part of a wider package including the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Austrian development bank Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank (OeEB), with loans of up to €72.25 million and €35 million, respectively.
The total investment is mobilised by Beo Čista Energija Ltd., a special-purpose vehicle formed by the global utility company SUEZ, the Japanese conglomerate ITOCHU and Marguerite, a pan-European equity fund investing in renewables, energy and transport. Beo Čista Energija entered a 25-year PPP with the city of Belgrade in 2017 for the first large-scale environmental infrastructure PPP investment in the Western Balkans region.