March 9, 2017 / 2:13 PM / 5 months ago

Greece to get EBRD funding for renewable energy drive

The hill of the Acropolis is pictured before Earth Hour in Athens March 28, 2015.Kostas Tsironis

ATHENS (Reuters) - Cash-strapped Greece will get more funding from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) after its board approved up to 300 million euros ($316 million) to fund renewable energy projects.

Greece is heavily dependent on imported fossil fuels and the EBRD aims to mobilize much-needed investment and financing to help exploit the country's huge potential for renewables, including solar, wind, biomass and geothermal power.

The EBRD started investing in Greece in 2015 to support the country's economic recovery following its debt crisis. So far it has invested about 850 million euros in 17 projects in the financial, energy, infrastructure and agribusiness sectors.

The new facility will finance investments in electricity generation from renewable sources, power distribution and transmission capacity to improve efficiency and enable the integration of renewables into the electricity grid.

"The EBRD renewable energy framework will make the Greek economy greener, more resilient and more competitive," Harry Boyd-Carpenter, the EBRD's power and energy director, said in a statement on Thursday.

The EBRD expects the funding will result in annual emissions savings of 500,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

One of the first renewable energy projects the EBRD is considering financing is a 43 MW wind farm project developed by Volterra, a Greek renewable energy developer and electricity operator fully owned by construction company J&P Avax.

($1 = 0.9480 euros)

Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Alexander Smith

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