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EBRD Chief Warns to Expect More Investment in Coal

Riccardo Puliti, the energy chief of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), one of the most influential government –owned investment organisations in the energy industry, has stated that it may begin to invest more heavily in coal projects.

Puliti argues that when looking at where to invest in the energy market it is not always possible to maintain an ideological policy on carbon intensity, and that other important factors must also be considered.

“We strongly believe in a transition to a low-carbon economy and that is what we want to do as an active citizen. But other pillars need to be addressed. Affordability is a problem, even in developed countries, and security of supply is a problem. These pillars need to be addressed and analysed in a proper way so we find the best optimum solution. So I can't say yes or no [to coal],” he was quoted as saying in the Guardian.

Related article: Global Markets Hot for U.S. Coal

Puliti commented that between 2006 and 2012 the EBRD funded nearly 200 energy projects. 80 were directly related to renewable energy, sustainability, or energy efficiency, and just two were related to coal; and even then these were aimed at improving the efficiency of coal plants.

Unfortunately, Puliti states that this affinity to invest in renewable sources is not always possible, if those resources are not a viable option to the country in question. “The issue must be seen in the context of different countries. Energy is used not just for power but for heating too. A country like Mongolia has access to just one fuel – coal – although the EBRD has financed and is an investor in the first ever wind farm in Mongolia ... You cannot be ideological about this.”

Puliti stated that in countries that have no access to natural gas, nuclear, or hydro power, then replacing old, inefficient coal-fired power plants with modern, cleaner plants, is often the best solution.

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com


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