The six contracting parties from Southeastern Europe agreed on the Sustainability Charter at the Western Balkan 6 Summit in Paris, Energy Community said.
Underlining the need to improve the health situation and prosperity in the region, their governments agreed to upgrade the effort to tap into energy savings and renewable energy generation potential, according to the report.
Each country committed to implementing specific measures by a set deadline to improve energy efficiency governance and implement smart support measures to improve sustainability of its energy system. They also agreed to work towards the implementation of robust domestic greenhouse gas emissions monitoring and reporting systems in line with European legislation, the press release said.
At the same meeting, EU pledged to allocate EUR 50 million from its Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) for incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy investments and policy reforms in the six markets. The funding round shows the bloc is serious in its intention to invest up to EUR 1 billion in transport and energy infrastructure in the region by 2020, said Johannes Hahn, commissioner for European neighbourhood policy and enlargement negotiations. However, he added investments without reforms make little sense.
“In the energy sector, it clearly does not make sense to invest in expensive inter-connectors of the transmission grids, if the countries are not willing to trade energy in the region. Trading would increase security of supply and reduce the need for additional expensive generation capacity. It would also green the region because the renewables such as hydropower in Montenegro and Albania would be easily exported to the neighbouring countries during peak production periods,” Hahn stated, noting the current IPA project will support measures like energy efficiency in buildings and small hydropower facilities.
The final monitoring report on the creation of an integrated electricity market ahead of the Western Balkan 6 Summit said the majority of the six countries is still lagging behind in establishing organised marketplaces as a precondition for efficient electricity trading. Moreover, cross-border electricity trade is below the region’s potential, reflecting the high level of market fragmentation, the Energy Community said.
At the 2015 Vienna Summit, the six countries committed to implement so-called soft measures. These consist of, inter alia, taking steps towards electricity trading on integrated spot markets, regional balancing and regional capacity allocation as well as removing existing legal and regulatory barriers.