FASI: Funding Aid Strategies Investments

EIB on the right track to support big energy investments in Europe

Photo credit: Pexel, 2017 The European Investment Bank (EIB) has recently stipulated some funding agreements to support big energy projects in Spain, Italy, France and in the Greece's Western Macedonia region.

The first one consists in a loan of up to €74 million to the Spanish company El Corte Inglés, to support its energy efficiency and innovation plans, the second one is a loan of €40 million to the PUNCH Group to develop hydrogen propulsion technologies in Turin and Strasbourg and the last one is a €28.5 million financing to support PPC Renewables company in the realisation of solar farms in the Greece's Western Macedonia region. 

74 million euros loan to help El Corte Inglés achieving its energy saving targets

El Corte Inglés is the biggest department store chain in Europe and a benchmark in Spanish retail. With more than 80 years of history, the group has based its business model on an attractive, wide and varied commercial proposal, incorporating pioneering products and services permanent, and now wants to evolve towards an omnichannel model more aligned with digitalisation, diversification and sustainability.

For this purpose, the company stipulated a financing agreement worth 74 million euros with EIB, in order to achieve the goal of producing renewable energy for its own use, to improve cybersecurity and the logistics chain up to 2024, with the objective of saving up to 176 GWh of energy and generate around 12 GWh of renewable energy a year. In particular, El Corte Inglés’ energy efficiency plan includes:

  • improved refrigeration, lighting, and air conditioning in its facilities and department stores in Spain;
  • better energy consumption management;
  • the development of tools to support decision-making, new optimised purchasing systems, advanced data analysis models and logistics automation artificial intelligence and other technologies;
  • investments in the production of decentralised and integrated renewable energy for self-consumption in its logistics centre in Valdemoro, Madrid.

This is the third agreement between EIB and El Corte Inglés as the two realities stipulated two loans in 2016 and in 2021, with the purpose of financing the company’s innovation and digitalisation plans. This last agreement is perfectly in line with the European Green Deal, the REPowerEU initiative and the Fit for 55 package, all EU plans which aim to accelerate the green transition by rolling out renewable energy in homes, industry, and power generation to replace fossil fuels, enhancing energy saving measures in the short, medium and long term.

“As the EU climate bank, we consider it a priority to support projects such as this in order to tackle both the energy and climate crisis, in line with initiatives such as REPowerEU”, said EIB Vice-President Ricardo Mourinho Félix. “This agreement will also accelerate innovation capabilities in vital areas such as artificial intelligence, a sector that creates economic growth and job opportunities”, he concluded.

40 million euros loan to the PUNCH Group to develop hydrogen propulsion technologies in Turin and Strasbourg

With around 1750 employees in seven locations in Europe and Asia, the PUNCH Group is an independent supplier for the development, integration, and production of competitive transmission and engine solutions, born in Belgium in 1986. Since 2020, inside the company there is PUNCH Torino, a state-of-the-art facility which develops innovative propulsion systems and control solutions. Its affiliate, PUNCH Hydrocells, is working actively on converging the expertise acquired on the conversion of diesel engines to run on hydrogen.

The investment agreement between EIB and PUNCH Group is supported by a guarantee from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe, and consists in 40 million euros financing to support the company's research, development and innovation activities mainly at the headquarters in Turin, Italy, and, to a lesser extent, in Strasbourg, France. The financing will:

  • promote the decarbonisation of passenger, commercial and industrial vehicles;
  • develop hydrogen and electric propulsion technologies and related energy storage systems (fuel cells);
  • foster sustainable mobility and the deployment of innovative technologies across Europe.

This agreement is in line not only with the EU climate targets, but also with the Paris Agreement and with the EIB's transport sector financing policy, as it contributes to the decarbonisation of the automotive, commercial and industrial vehicle sectors and to the adoption of green technologies based on hydrogen and electrification.

 “Investing in technologies that promote sustainable mobility is key to reaching our climate objectives”, said Paolo Gentiloni, EC Commissioner for the Economy. This financing “will create jobs and support the development of innovative green technologies for the benefit of all Europeans”, he concluded.

28.5 million euros loan to the PPC Renewables company to realize three solar farms in Greece's Western Macedonia region

The Public Power Corporation (PPC) is a leading company for generation and supply of electricity in Greece, which has stipulated a financial agreement with EIB, to support the realisation of three 230MWp capacity solar farms in Kozani, in the Greece Western Macedonia region.

The new financing, which is supported also by an EU budget guarantee under the InvestEU programme (the EU long-term funding programme, which leverages substantial private and public funds in support of a sustainable economy), worth 28.5 million euros, and will reach a maximum amount of 35 million euros over the coming months. The main purposes of the financing are:

  • a greater use of renewable energy resources;
  • a reduction of fossil fuel dependency in the electricity sector;
  • improving security of electricity supply for long-term demand.

EIB has financed long-term investment by PPC Group since 1964. Over the last decade, the bank has provided more than €4.3 billion for energy investment in Greece via PPC and other public and private Greek energy partners, including improving connections to Greek islands, harnessing renewable energy, and accelerating energy efficiency investment. The constructions of these new solar farms is one of the largest solar energy projects developed and under implementation in Greece, and is also part of the strategic transformation plan of the PPC Group, which puts a special focus on the promotion of renewable energy.

“This agreement to finance the construction of new solar farms in Greece is an excellent example of how the InvestEU programme is mobilising funding in support of green energy generation across Europe”, said Paolo Gentiloni, EC Commissioner for the Economy