ArmInfo. Ameriabank has assumed a long-term commitment to create a sustainable environment and assist a transition to carbon-neutral economy, Eduard Arakelyan, Head of Corporate Sales and Relationship Management Division, Ameriabank CJSC, told ArmInfo on the sidelines of the Energy Week in Yerevan.
Answering a question about the risks for the Bank associated with the non-basic nature of "green energy" and the lack of energy storage systems in the country ("no sun - no electricity"), Arakelyan noted that the share of renewable energy in the overall energy balance of the country is still extremely low and is only 7- 8%. Currently, solar generation facilities operate according to the "producer-distributor-consumer" scheme, that is, the electricity produced from renewable energy facilities is sold to power grids, which, in turn, sell it to consumers, which avoids possible risks. The representative of the Bank emphasized that this year alone, Ameriabank has financed several projects in the field of solar energy, which are under implementation. These facilities are expected to be put into operation at the end of the first or beginning of the second quarter of 2024. As a result, the energy complex will receive additional electricity with a total installed capacity of 100 MW.
Speaking about the risks that relate to the ability of the country's power grid to accept such an amount of electricity, the Bank's representative emphasized that similar concerns are also raised by the bank's clients. "The question is even raised about the need for a pause to resolve this issue. In particular, there is an opinion that the regulator, represented by the Public Services Regulatory Commission, should take a time out and temporarily not issue licenses for the construction of new generation facilities until the problem is resolved," Arakelyan noted.
He noted that in the Bank's loan portfolio, the share of financed projects in the field of renewable energy is about 10%, while in the total loan portfolio on the market this figure is close to 33%. Largely thanks to projects financed by Ameriabank, over 9 months of 2023, the country produced over 118 million kWh of "green" electricity, which made it possible to reduce more than 58 thousand tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The data were obtained from calculations using the appropriate coefficients established by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The specialist recalled that back in 2020, the Bank issued and placed "green" bonds in the amount of 42 million euros, which became the first such program in Armenia. Arakelyan emphasized that Ameriabank currently has agreements on the implementation of projects in the field of "green energy" worth about 46 billion drams, about 50% of which have already been placed.
Answering a question about the cost of credit resources, a representative of the Bank noted that over the past two years interest rates have increased slightly. However, largely thanks to the efforts of the German- Armenian Foundation (GAF), financed by KfW, it became possible to obtain loans at lower rates - 5% instead of 9% per annum. In addition, borrowers can take advantage of the state program for subsidizing interest rates, which was initiated by the RA Ministry of Economy. All these and other programs have led to an increase in the number of Bank clients. As a result, "green" financing has intensified across all components.
According to the Strategy for the Development of the Armenian Energy Industry until 2040, it is envisaged to increase the volume of electricity produced from renewable energy facilities by 2 thousand megawatts, of which solar energy - by 1500 MW and wind energy - by 500 MW. Thus, Armenia intends to reduce its dependence on energy resources coming from abroad.
At the "Energy Week" forum, the head of the energy security program of the USAID mission in Armenia, Abgar Budagyan, noted that with the support of the Agency, two new bills were developed: on the electric power industry and on the efficiency of renewable energy sources, which were presented for discussion by interested parties. According to him, the bills propose fundamental reforms aimed at fully liberalizing the energy market, harnessing the efficiency potential of renewable energy sources and developing mutually beneficial electricity trade with Georgia.
"As of 2022, Armenia was 73% dependent on imported fuels. In this case, we are talking not only about electricity, but also about overall energy independence, which takes into account Armenia's dependence on natural gas and other imported petroleum fuels. Natural resources, What we have are the renewable energy resources of Armenia, and the path to increasing the level of energy independence is the development of these resources.
If in 2022 the share of gas-fired thermal units was about 30% of the electricity produced for domestic consumption, then if the set goals are achieved, by 2030 this figure will be halved - to 15%. This means that already in 2030, the Armenian energy sector will be able to meet the country's internal needs by 85% through a nuclear power plant and renewable energy sources. As a result, Armenia's energy independence will increase from 27% to 35%," the USAID expert noted.
According to the Financial Rating of Armenian Banks as of September 30, 2023, prepared by the ArmInfo Information Company, Ameriabank is the leader in the loan portfolio - $2.3 billion, with an annual growth of 27%. In the total market indicator, the Bank covers over 17% of total loan investments, and in its assets the share of lending exceeds 68%. Ameriabank also holds the lead in corporate lending - $1.4 billion, with an annual growth of 28%. Moreover, in Ameriabank's corporate loan portfolio, 22% or $308 million falls on the industrial sector, which banks indicate in their reports along with lending to the energy complex.
Ameriabank's total capital is $481.4 million (1 position), assets -3.4 billion drams (2nd position), net profit for 9 months of 2023 - $87.3 million (2nd position). The bank increased its total capital over the year by 20%, assets by 14.4%, and net profit by 11%.
Ameriabank, being a leading financial and technological institution in Armenia with assets of over AMD 1,000bln, plays an important role in the country's economy. The bank presents an innovative and digital platform? an ecosystem that brings together financial and non-financial services in one place. The platform allows clients to receive not only convenient and fast financing in all main areas, but also to go all the way from opening an account to issuing a card and applying for financing in the online environment of the ecosystem. Only Ameriabank's capital includes such institutional investors as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) with a participation share of 17.71% and 13.92%, respectively.