Technical Assistance
Policy measure

According to World Bank documentation (2009), the ‘Energy Efficiency GEF Project’ was launched in 2003 with the objective to “enable companies in the industrial sector and other energy consumers to adopt and utilize energy-efficient technologies, financed under commercial criteria by the Romanian Energy Efficiency Fund (FREE) and co-financiers”.

Component 2 of the ‘Energy Efficiency GEF Project’, Technical Assistance, covered three broad areas (World Bank, 2009):

  • Capacity building, including activities in initial project development, workshops and seminars for partners and clients, training for fund managers and partners in energy efficiency financing techniques, and monitoring and evaluation (estimated cost USD 500,000).

  • Fund management, including retainer fees of the Fund Manager for the first three years (estimated cost USD 900,000).

  • FREE administration, including its set up and running costs during the first four years (estimated cost USD 600,000).

The total financing requirements of the ‘Energy Efficiency GEF Project’ amounted to USD 106.0 million of which USD 31.714 were spent on Component 2 (World Bank, 2009).


FREE focused primarily on financing projects within restructured and/or privatized industries that could establish basic creditworthiness. Eligible projects were limited to those meeting criteria for minimizing risk and maximizing the potential for success. The World Bank (2009) summarizes the guidelines for eligible projects as follows:

  • “The projects and/or the Fund's financial support were expected to be in the range of US$100,000 to US$1,000,000.

  • A well diversified portfolio of projects to assure a balanced risk-return to the Fund.

  • Projects to have a relatively short payback time (generally under three to four years).

  • At least 50 percent of each project's benefits to come from energy savings (e.g., process or capacity improvements that have ancillary energy savings benefits are not eligible)

  • The technology must be well proven in the proposed application to avoid technological risk.”

“The main energy efficiency technologies that met these criteria were burners and boilers, variable speed drives, condensers for power factor improvement, compressors, controls, and steam traps” (World Bank, 2009).

No identified challenges.

The following outcomes of Component 2 have been identified (World Bank, 2009):

  • “Project development: Three projects were financed with project development support from the UNDP GEF project.

  • Workshops/Seminars: Training and education for FREE partners and clients, outreach activities and materials, development of materials for success stories:

  • Awareness raising activities (workshops, seminars and others). Over the period 2003 - 2008, the Fund Manager and FREE staff participated in 108 national and international events. For the events organized on the premises of FREE in the period of 2005 - 2006 in Bucharest and in other parts of Romania, about 244 companies attended. The events focused on the private sector and industry, but a small number of public utility companies also attended.

  • Promotion materials & advertisements. Between 2005 - 2008, the Fund Manager and FREE staff participated in 75 press events which concentrated heavily on press articles in the national and local press in the 2005/06 period. FREE has developed a website in Romanian and English languages ( It was initially launched in May 2003 and reengineered in June 2005. A considerable amount of information has been posted on the website but the most valuable information was provided by the 18 energy efficiency case studies published for every financing contract concluded. Since May 2006, a website reconfiguration of lending information provides quicker assistance to potential clients.

  • Other means of information produced by FREE include brochures and flyers with FREE’s lending conditions that were transmitted or handed over to potential clients and event attendants.

  • Technical capacity building and development of alternative deal structures for energy efficiency investment for both the Fund Manager and selected partners such as ESCOs and Business Advisory Centers: The only funds spent in this category were used for accounting training of FREE staff which enabled them to switch to IAS.”


World Bank, 2009. Implementation Completion and Results Report (TF-50705) on a Global Environment Facility Trust Fund Grant in the Amount of US$ 10 million to Romania for an Energy Efficiency Project. Washington, DC. Available at: