ECONOMY

SMEs, green energy aided

The European Investment Bank yesterday agreed to lend 75 million euros to a Greek electricity producer to finance the construction of seven windfarms in Greece and 100 million euros to two local banks to fund projects by small and medium-sized enterprises. Philippe Maystadt, president of the EIB, and Gerlando Genuardi, vice president, were in Athens yesterday to sign the loan agreements. The Luxembourg-based bank is the financing institution for the EU. Terna Energy, the recipient of the 75-million-euro loan, will construct four windfarms on mainland Greece, two on Evia and one on Crete. Work is scheduled to kick off this year, with the windfarms expected to go into operation in 2006. The seven windfarms will have a total capacity of 144 megawatts. Terna Energy, the electricity production subsidiary of construction company Terna, currently operates four windfarms with a combined installed capacity of 40 MW. Five percent of Greece’s energy is derived from renewable energy resources. The government has said it aims to increase the contribution to 12 percent by 2010 in line with the Kyoto agreement. Alpha Bank and Emporiki Bank, each borrowing 50 million euros from the EIB, plan to use the funds to strengthen their presence in the small and medium-sized enterprises sector. They will target businesses in industry, tourism and services as well as projects focusing on infrastructure, energy, environmental protection, health and education. The EIB channeled some 1.1 billion euros to Greece last year, with about half of the funds going toward Olympic Games-related environmental projects, 30 percent toward transport works and 14 percent for electricity and transmission projects.