The Municipality of Ungheni and the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO) have signed a loan agreement to modernize and expand the current street lighting network in the city by implementing energy-efficient lighting measures. This is the second project that is being implemented with NEFCO financing in Moldova.
Ungheni is located in the western part of Moldova, about 100 km northeast of the capital Chisinau by the bank of the Prut River, which flows throughout the country from north to south. The city has some 35,000 inhabitants who will benefit from the modernized street lighting and improved public services.
The current street lighting system was built during Soviet times and only partly renovated over the years but never completely refurbished and upgraded to modern standards. The lighting network has therefore become less effective over time. Today, some streets in the city still lack illumination.
The project will have an environmental, social and economic impact on the city. The energy-efficiency measures that are going to be installed will result in decreased CO2 emissions and reduced electricity usage. The scope of the project includes the disposal of the old and outdated lamps sustainably. It is estimated that the new measures will decrease the city’s electricity usage by approx. 1,200 MWh annually, which is a reduction of over 80 percent compared with current electricity consumption. The decrease in electricity usage will result in over MDL 2.6 million (approx. EUR 130,000) in annual cost savings. This will be an important cost-saving for the city once the project is implemented.
“By upgrading the current lighting system to modern LED technologies, the municipality will achieve significant emissions reductions, energy savings and reduced maintenance costs. Without the NEFCO loan, we would not have been able to start this project, which is a high-priority area for our citizens. We are therefore very grateful for our cooperation with NEFCO and the approved financing,” commented Alexandru Ambros, Mayor of Ungheni in connection with the signing of the loan agreement.
Better and extended illumination will have an important social impact on the inhabitants of the city as it will lead to increased safety, including for traffic.
The total project investment is approx. MDL 7 million (approx. EUR 350,000), financed by an MDL 6.35 million concessional loan (approx. EUR 317,000) from NEFCO and the rest by the local contribution. The financing will be used to upgrade 1,500 old lamps and install over 500 new LED lamps. New lighting poles and control cabinets will also be installed.
“It is very positive to see that cities in Moldova are interested in energy-efficiency investments. This will not only contribute to the development of a modern and improved infrastructure for the cities’ inhabitants but also support the country’s efforts toward a green transition,” said Aliona Fomenco, ESC Programme Manager at NEFCO.
The Energy Saving Credits (ESC) facility was launched in Moldova in 2019 to finance municipal investments in energy-saving measures in social facilities such as day-care centers, schools, hospitals and street lighting. Since 2010, NEFCO has financed over 80 projects through the ESC facility outside Moldova. Among these, 25 street lighting projects have been implemented in Ukraine, resulting in yearly electricity savings of 17,000 MWh and consequently EUR 8.5 million in annual cost savings.