French Polynesian hospital gets EUR 7.5m environmental support from EIB
- Release date: 19 December 2012
- Reference: 2012-202-EN
Plans to significantly reduce emissions at French Polynesia’s main hospital will proceed following agreement of EUR 7.5m support from Europe’s long-term lending institution. Air conditioning costs at the Centre Hospitalier de Polynesie will be significantly reduced using a sea water air conditioning system funded by the European Investment Bank.
Funding agreements were formally signed on Tuesday 18 December 2012 in Papeete by Pierre Frebault, Economics and Finance Minister of French Polynesia and Jean-Philippe de Jong, European Investment Bank representative in Sydney.
“The European Investment Bank is committed to supporting long-term investment in small island states and encouraging more sustainable use of energy. This project will significantly reduce overall operational costs at the Centre Hospitalier de Polynesie by cutting energy costs by half and further demonstrates the European Investment Bank’s engagement to support environmental projects in the Pacific.” said Pim van Ballekom, EIB Vice-President responsible for the Pacific.
The President of French Polynesia paid tribute to the partnership with the lenders (EIB, AFD and ADEME) in bringing the project to fruition, in the first ever large-scale financing operation involving country, state and the European Union. It would hopefully be followed by other such infrastructure projects, especially in the renewables sector. It represented a major step forward in the public authorities’ plans to switch to more environmentally friendly energy sources and was the culmination of a project that began life in 2004.
The new French Polynesia Hospital (NCHPF) stressed that its precarious balance sheet would be vastly improved by this new technology as the proportion of energy costs in its overheads had become financially unsustainable.
The hospital is thrilled that its state-of-the-art equipment is now coupled with a sustainable energy solution, thanks to a project that is emblematic of the cooperation between the NCHPF, the country and the institutional lenders.
Construction of the Sea Water Air-Conditioning cooling system is expected to save 13GWh of electricity use each year representing a EUR 3.7m or 50% reduction in the hospital’s energy costs. The European Investment Bank’s long-term (15 year) loan will allow the project to demonstrate an alternative method of air cooling. An estimated 40% of electricity is used in French Polynesia for traditional air conditioning units. The new system being installed on the coast next to the Centre Hospitalier de Polynesie uses sea water at a depth of 900m, where water temperatures are between 5 and 8 degrees, to provide cold air for the main hospital and adjacent buildings.
The project will be jointly financed by the European Investment Bank, the French Development Agency (AFD), the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) and the Government of French Polynesia. This is the first project in the Pacific supported jointly by the European Investment Bank and the French Development Agency under the Mutual Reliance Initiative, intended to facilitate joint lending operations.
The European Investment Bank is currently looking at providing long-term financing for similar environmental projects in the Pacific. Over the last ten years the EIB has provided more than EUR 100 million to support development and economic activity in 15 Pacific island states and four overseas territories. EIB engagement in the Pacific focuses on the specific needs and investment priorities of the region. The EIB Pacific office was established in Sydney in 2007 to improve contact with local authorities and encourage greater cooperation with local business partners.