Renewables

Belgrade Energy Forum – energy transition in Southeast Europe is accelerating

Belgrade-Energy-Forum-Dubravka-Dedovic-Handanovic

Photo: Balkan Green Energy News

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May 13, 2024

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Published:

May 13, 2024

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Serbia’s energy sector has made more progress in the last two years than in the previous ten, Minister of Mining and Energy Dubravka Đedović Handanović said at the opening of Belgrade Energy Forum 2024. She also announced that preparatory work for building the 646 MW pumped storage hydropower plant Bistrica should begin next year. Energy Community Secretariat Director Artur Lorkowski said the organization’s contracting parties, including the Western Balkans, would gain a strategic advantage by joining the European Union’s single electricity market.

Belgrade Energy Forum 2024 kicked off today in the capital of Serbia, bringing together more than 400 participants from 26 countries around the world, including representatives of 150 companies.

“Serbia’s energy sector has made more progress in the last two years than it did in the previous ten,” said Minister of Mining and Energy Dubravka Đedović Handanović at the opening of the two-day conference. The energy transition must be implemented in a fair and sustainable way, and this will not be possible without the help of the EU, she noted.

Testing, commissioning of thermal power plant Kostolac B3 is underway

The Government of Serbia has been addressing numerous challenges such as the energy crisis, the war in Ukraine, and climate change, said Đedović Handanović, stressing that energy security and independence are the priorities. The testing and commissioning of thermal power plant Kostolac B3 is underway, she revealed.

Talking about the Bistrica pumped storage hydropower plant project, she said its generation capacity would be 646 MW. “By the end of the year, all the technical documentation will be completed, so that next year we can start preparatory works,” she said.

In the past year, Serbia imported 1.2 TWh less electricity than it did in the previous 12 months, while exporting 500 GWh more, said Đedović Handanović. In addition, coal production in the Kolubara mines increased 4% year on year from January to April, while overburden output rose 13%, she added. The second package as part of the restructuring of state-owned power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) will be adopted this week, which will mark the beginning of its implementation, she said.

Đedović Handanović: In the last year, Serbia imported 1.2 TWh less electricity than in the previous 12 months

Investment in the transmission and distribution network has never been higher, Đedović Handanović said. Currently over EUR 440 million is being invested in the installation of smart electricity meters, she recalled. So far, more than 200,000 of the devices have been installed, and the number will reach 520,000 during the summer, the minister said. Also, negotiations on the financing of the next round are underway, according to her.

Around 34,000 power poles have already been replaced. By the end of 2023, 723 small transformers and five large ones were overhauled, and a further 11 larger ones will be completed before the end of August, said Đedović Handanović. The Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (INECP or NECP) is ready, as is the draft Energy Development Strategy until 2050, she asserted.

Western Balkans at doorstep of world’s biggest, most liquid electricity market

Artur-Lorkowski
Energy Community Secretariat Director Artur Lorkowski

Energy Community Secretariat Director Artur Lorkowski said the integration of the contracting parties into the EU’s single electricity market brings benefits for consumers, including energy-intensive industries. It is implemented in line with the Electricity Integration Package (EIP), adopted in December 2022.

“This process is about building a framework that enables accelerated integration with the European Union in electricity, and with electricity markets, well ahead of the day of the accession. This process is about the Western Balkans region coming into the biggest and most liquid electricity market in the world,” Lorkowski stressed.

Lorkowski: Market coupling is a precondition for exempting electricity from CBAM

The Energy Community Secretariat director explained that coupling day-ahead and intraday electricity markets is a precondition for exempting electricity from the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). It would provide a strategic advantage for Western Balkan economies, Lorkowski underscored.

He also urged Energy Community contracting parties to strengthen the collective energy stability.

Western Balkans’ energy transition on two tracks

Branislava-Jovicic
Branislava Jovičić, founder and editor of Balkan Green Energy News

The energy transition in Southeast Europe has accelerated in the last year, said Branislava Jovičić, founder and editor of Balkan Green Energy News, which organized BEF 2024.

“The energy transition in Southeast Europe is still proceeding on two tracks. We can notice that EU members are progressing faster because, among other things, they have significant funds from the EU at their disposal,” she said. Jovičić added that the Energy Community contracting parties are making progress too, highlighting the examples of solar and wind auctions held in Serbia and those being prepared in Montenegro.

“We are witnessing reforms at power utilities that are looking for ways to decarbonize production, independently or with the support of strategic partners, and to remain competitive on the market. The process of energy decentralization and democratization is well underway, with increasing numbers of citizens and companies producing their own electricity,” Branislava Jovičić noted.

Serbia will take pride in solar power plants with batteries built by UGT Renewables, Hyundai Engineering

Duke Gim, Senior Vice President for Project Development at Sun Africa and UGT Renewables, said that the Serbian solar power portfolio of UGT Renewables and Hyundai Engineering would be among the largest in Europe, and that Serbia would be proud of it.

UGT Renewables and Hyundai Engineering are negotiating with the Government of Serbia on a strategic partnership to build a group of photovoltaic plants with a combined peak capacity of 1.2 GW and batteries for energy storage. The consortium is the diamond sponsor of this year’s Belgrade Energy Forum.

Sister companies Sun Africa and UGT Renewables are developing photovoltaic plants around the world, with a total planned capacity of 16 GW, Gim added.

Kim Dong Joon, Vice President of Hyundai Engineering, said the company’s intention is to position itself as a reliable partner in the region.

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