23 Oct 2009 17:09

Sberbank ready to lend $5 bln for energy conservation technologies

MOSCOW. Oct 23 (Interfax) - Sberbank Russia is prepared to lend a total of $5 billion to businesses to finance introduction of new energy-efficient technologies, Natural Resources and Ecology Minister Yury Trutnev said on Vesti television.

"I believe it is necessary to provide enterprises the opportunity to purchase new equipment, introduce new technologies, and for that there must be the opportunity to raise bank loans. We are already conducting such talks with banks. There is already an initiative from Sberbank to allocate more than $5 billion over the course of 2010. We have a positive response from VTB ," he said.

The ministry told Interfax that it was directly involved in negotiations between enterprises and Sberbank for loans. "Agreements have been reached between the Natural Resources Ministry and Sberbank in accordance with the development of the ministry program to transfer enterprises to new technologies. However, the question of loan provision requires detailed development," a ministry spokesperson said.

Trutnev recalled that his ministry had set the goal of reducing environmental harm indicators 80% by 2020.

In order to meet that goal, the ministry has drawn up a package of measures to stimulate introduction of new energy-efficient, clean technologies at businesses.

"The new legislative package contains the widest variety of measures. We will submit it to the government before the end of the year," Trutnev said. Aside from loans, the package contains measures to "improve customs tariffs, tax incentives, assistance on the depreciation, etc.," he said.

The ministry also plans to begin preparing a register of the best existing technologies. "The majority of countries have taken the approach base on the best existing technologies. We also plan to transition to that system. The problem is that more than 6,000 technologies need to be entered into the register. That work has been underway for several years. We plan to complete the work before 2014," he said.

The Natural Resources and Ecology Ministry plans to continue work to improve the mechanism for environmental expert reviews. "We are not very satisfied with the work of the environmental expert reviews. That mechanism operates in construction of facilities in especially sensitive nature areas and on the shelf. As for the rest, the mechanism is integrated into the construction segment. We plan to improve it," he said.

Alongside the stimulus measures, the ministry also plans to increase fines for environmental violations, he said.