The Republic of Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Eastern Europe. It also suffers from bitterly cold winters, with temperatures dipping to well below freezing. This makes keeping public buildings warm both challenging and costly, especially since historically they have been heated using inefficient and outdated coal, mazut – a heavy fuel oil - or wood boilers with a deteriorated heat distribution network dating back to Soviet times. Rooms in public buildings are closed off during the coldest months to save on energy. School children and hospital staff suffer, and coal dust causes respiratory infections.
To help improve the situation, the World Bank financed the Moldova Energy Conservation & Emissions Reduction Project which contributes to energy savings, lowers greenhouse gas emissions, and betters living conditions by installing 317 new and more efficient boilers in public buildings across Moldova, including schools, hospitals and community centers. The goal was to increase the overall heating efficiency by up to 90 percent. It builds on an earlier energy efficiency project to improve heating and lighting in public buildings in Moldova.
The project, implemented by the Moldovan Carbon Finance Unit under the Ministry of Environment, is the first in the country to earn certified carbon credits, which are sold to the World Bank’s Community Development Carbon Fund (CDCF). The revenue helps municipalities pay for investment in energy-efficient measures such as insulation and new windows, as well as the salaries of dedicated technicians to operate and maintain the new boilers.
So far, the project has reduced green-house gas emissions by 89,500 tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to taking about 19,000 modern vehicles off the roads for a year.
At the World Bank last week, the team responsible for the project was given the GPOBA “Inn-OBA-tions” Social Inclusion/Green Award for its collaboration across the Bank Group and its perseverance in bringing this project to fruition.