Banking on the energy transformation

(EurActiv, 25 Mar 2019) In the last five years, the European Investment Bank (EIB) provided over €50 billion in clean energy investments in Europe and around the world. As a new cycle opens, Andrew McDowell explains the key principles that will underpin the EIB’s future lending policy.

Andrew McDowell is Vice President of the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Our planet’s climate is changing and we must respond by transforming the way we produce energy and consume it. It is imperative that we rein in carbon emissions just as we bring clean and affordable energy to those who lack safe, secure supplies.

We all care about this. Our climate survey shows that 78% of Europeans are “concerned” or “alarmed” about climate change. People also care about jobs and social cohesion. In Germany, the announcement that coal is to be phased out rightly enthused those who see the potential for a dramatic reduction of emissions. It also triggered anxiety about the rate of the phase out and its social costs.

Transforming our energy mix is a complex task involving a wide range of stakeholders. And yet, if we handle the shift to clean energy correctly, we can generate strong enthusiasm for climate action and greater confidence in its economic impact. After all, since 2012, the number of renewable energy jobs has grown 45% worldwide, compared to an increase in all jobs of only 5%. In the EU, renewable energy jobs more than doubled since 2000, against a 7% overall increase in jobs.

Multilateral public investors like the European Investment Bank (EIB) have a significant contribution to make. Our financing and advice must be directed at investments that cut emissions and combat climate change. It must create the jobs and growth in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors that will ensure the transition leaves behind no part of our societies and no region of the world. To make this work, there has to be substantial thinking on the principles and guidelines followed by major investors.

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EurActiv, 25 Mar 2019: Banking on the energy transformation