HOW TO BENEFIT FROM ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY INVESTMENTS
Ecuador is a late entrant into the clean energy industry by Latin American standards. Due to the country’s rich fossil fuel sector and an abundance of large-scale hydropower capacity, electricity prices are heavily subsidized. As a consequence, energy efficiency does not figure high on the agenda of most local businesses and amount to only half of the Latin-American average.
In spite of this general perception, energy efficiency and renewable energy investments can have a decisive impact on the competitiveness of SMEs. This is the result of research carried out by GCPF partner institution Banco ProCredit over the last year with a focus on SME clients.
To make SME clients aware of this fact and encourage them to embark on climate-positive action, the Bank organized a series of events which were held in Quito and Guayaquil in June 2018. Targeting SMEs as well as project developers, they were designed to inform about the benefits of and promote energy efficient / renewable energy investments and link it with the bank’s EcoCredit offer for financing.
Together, the two events attracted some 90 participants, mostly professionals in charge of their own businesses. Many of them were existing clients with well-established relationships with the bank.
In his presentation, Carlos St James, Board Member of the Latin American & Caribbean Council on Renewable Energy, shared investment trends, globally, regionally and within Ecuador over recent years by technology and a description of why certain markets and technologies were more successful than others.
His presentation also provided information on the use of technologies such as solar panels on a residential and commercial scale as an energy efficiency tool to be used by businesses specifically in Ecuador, allowing for Banco ProCredit to give the following presentation as an ideal lead-in.
Banco ProCredit’s Katarina Zdrajevic, Head of SME, explained the different types of “green loans” available through the bank’s “EcoCredit” programme targeting initiatives in the energy efficiency, renewable energy and environment areas.
She went on to present the example of plastic manufacturer PLASINCA that invested in new, energy-efficient machinery. Given that the new machine works four times as fast, production has increased by 470 kg to 2,000 kg per shift, with a simultaneous reduction in waste from 38% to 20%.
“We wanted to show how companies can increase their productivity through green investments.”
“This is only one example that shows how companies can increase their competitiveness through green investments,” Katarina Zdrajevic underlined.
The attendees’ questions tended to focus on technologies such as biomass, biofuels and waste-to-energy, in addition to rooftop solar and energy efficiency. Questions also focused on financial themes (costs, returns, etc.), and Banco ProCredit’s subsequent presentation was very well received and had no shortage of questions regarding their energy efficiency financing programs.
“Businesses across the globe will soon have the option to generate their own energy.”
Carlos St James
„These events are a valuable tool to educate small businesses on the rapidly changing technologies and their quickly evolving relationships with traditional large government utilities,” Carlos St James explained. “It is quickly becoming apparent that businesses across the globe will have the option to generate their own energy (typically rooftop solar), achieve some level of energy self-sufficiency, and in some markets be able to sell surplus energy back into the grid. This overall helps them see new opportunities for energy efficiency and new ways to see their businesses and how they can contribute to a greening of the planet.”