Sun, 25th June 2017 | Updated Tuesday 20 June 2017, 04:53:43
Seychelles Nation 12-December-2016: The role of commercial banks and financial institutions is seen as imperative in supporting Seychelles achieve its goal of becoming energy efficient. Their active involvement is fundamental for the long-term growth and development of the market to provide loans to finance energy efficient projects and programmes.
It is for this reason that the government, United Nations Development Programme and the Global Environment Facility (GOS-UNDP-GEF) Resource Efficiency Project and the Seychelles Energy Commission (SEC) organised a two-day energy efficiency lending information and education session and business to business networking event last week for stakeholders in the banking and lending sectors.
The sessions took place at the Savoy Resort at Beau Vallon.
The aim is to build the capacity and raise awareness of local financial institutions on energy efficiency and proactively develop specific financial products for them, reduce barriers within the banking system that may hinder energy efficiency lending and identify actions to mainstream energy efficiency lending in the banking sector.
Those taking part in the information and education session also benefitted from a training manual developed through the GOS-UNDP-GEF Resource Efficiency Project andwhich provides the local banks with user-friendly methods to evaluate risks and assess opportunities for energy efficiency investments.
The session took place over two days to allow the banks to send a first cohort of their loan officers on day one and a second group on the following day.
Addressing guests and those taking part in the event, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change Didier Dogley pointed out that Seychelles like other small island states relies heavily on imported fossil fuel for its primary energy supply.
"Our fuel imports bill is around 10% of our national annual budget. Such heavy reliance is not sustainable especially given the continuous rapid growth of our economy and volatile nature of the price of fossil fuel on the world market. Furthermore, the high price of energy produced from imported fossil fuel puts small countries like Seychelles at a competitive disadvantage. This burden on the economy escalates as the economy and the demand for energy continues to grow. It is a non-ending trap," he stressed.
"It is for this reason and others that Seychelles is seeking to develop its energy efficiency sector as we are doing for renewable energy," he added.
Minister Dogley stressed on the multiple benefits of energy efficiency both globally and nationally.
"At the global level, energy efficiency is widely recognised as the most cost effective solution in reducing the rapid growth in energy demand, reducing energy consumption from fossil fuels, and, therefore, reducing global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) contributing to climate change. According to sources such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and International Energy Agency (IEA), energy efficiency opportunities exist in all sectors placing the potential reduction of GHG between 1.6 GtCO2 and 2.0 GtCO2 per year.
Minister Dogley went on to explain the SEEREP and SMEs loan schemes which were launched a few years back, and which are being provided by most commercial banks and by the DBS but have had very slow up-take, because of many bottle necks.
"These incentives were initiated by government to accelerate the adoption and uptake of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies by middle and lower income members of our society. The aim was to democratise access to these technologies and thereby create greater and wider ownership of the energy sector by our citizens," he said, noting that in doing so, it is hoped to promote inclusivity and leave no one behind.
"The introductory training and tools, which has been provided to you, aims at helping you, the banking sector, understand the background of energy efficiency and the importance of your support in developing energy efficiency lending in your portfolios," Minister Dogley added.
He further informed everyone present that many developed countries have shown that energy efficiency is an interesting business opportunity for banks – it can generate significant loan volumes with controlled risks. Individuals and organisations that invest in energy efficiency can become better clients for the banks: by reducing operational cost and increasing their cash flow, being in a better position to service debt, and becoming more efficient and sustainable in the long-term.S
Source: Seychelles Nation @http://www.nation.sc/article.html?id=252151