The Secretary General of the Malta Bankers’ Association (MBA), Karol Gabarretta, recently moderated one of the topic panel group sessions held during the National Roundtable on Financing Energy Efficiency in Malta on the 6th June.
The Roundtable was organised by the European Commission in partnership with the UN Environment Finance Initiative and the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects of Malta.
The session, which specifically dealt with ‘De-risking Energy Efficiency Investment’, featured also interventions from representatives of various members of the MBA and explored several aspects of the financing of energy efficiency measures including an enhanced participation in this segment by local institutions. The difficulty in gauging tangible benefits achieved through the performance of energy efficiency investments was also discussed. This makes the resultant benefits and the associated financial risks harder to assess while the relative absence of commonly-agreed procedures and standards for underwriting energy efficiency investments increases transaction costs.
During the breakout discussions, Mr Gabarretta acknowledged that while financing of energy efficient measures locally may still be a growing market, he envisages that any shift in such financing may in future require a significant transformation in three main areas.
“Thus, we can achieve such a change through heightened awareness on the benefits of adopting energy efficiency measures but at most this must be accompanied by a culture change at the level of both suppliers of financing of energy efficient measures, principally banks and potential beneficiaries of such finance,” he said.
He added that the implementation of incentives primarily aimed at potential beneficiaries of financing of energy efficient measures could prove to make such schemes much more attractive and duplicate the success achieved locally in the area of renewable energy solutions.
“Inevitably, regulatory measures may also be warranted to address the effects of any market failures in this area.” Mr Gabaretta added.
Mr Gabarretta also confirmed that the MBA as a banking association will encourage dissemination and adoption amongst its members of the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG) Underwriting Toolkit, https://valueandrisk.eefig.eu/ . The Toolkit, which was launched in June 2017, is a guide for value and risk appraisal specifically with respect to energy efficiency financing and is designed to assist financial institutions to scale up their deployment of capital into this area.