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New EIB guidelines could benefit hydropower projects, technology

European Investment Bank EIB

A set of guidelines recently adopted by the European Investment Bank could benefit the development of hydroelectric power as the lending institution reinforced its support for European renewable and energy efficiency investments.

The new guidelines are the product of a 10-month study in which the EIB conducted a "comprehensive review to ensure that its energy lending criteria reflect [European Union] energy and climate policy, as well as current investment trends," the bank said in a statement.

The EIB's board approved them during a meeting earlier this month, along with additional clarifications on proposed exemptions to its Emissions Performance Standard.

"Prioritizing lending to energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy networks and energy research and development projects will help EU to meet its energy and climate objectives and create local employment across Europe," EIB executive Mihai Tanasescu said. "The new Emissions Performance Standard will ensure that outside these sectors the bank's energy lending makes a sustainable and positive contribution to economic growth."

The new standard will be applied to all fossil fuel generation projects to "screen out investments whose carbon emissions exceed a threshold level," the bank said. The threshold reflects the European Union's existing commitment to limiting carbon emissions, with the cap to be subject to review and more restrictions in the future.

"Significant long-term investment across Europe is essential to achieve our energy and climate targets and maintain a technological lead," European Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger said. "The new guidelines provide a framework for continuing this contribution over the years ahead."

The EIB said it has invested more than US$93 billion in long-term energy development projects over the past five years.

In addition to its activities in Europe, the bank is also funding a number of other projects across the world. HydroWorld.com has recently reported EIB investments in Congo's 40,000-MW Grand Inga and Nepal's 140-MW Tanahun hydropower projects.

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