Most Southeast European members of the Energy Community is behind schedule with obligations to increase the share of renewable sources in their energy mix, said Dirck Buschle, deputy head of the organization’s secretariat, and added goals probably won’t be met.
Mistakes made by European Union member states in developing renewable energy sector must be avoided, he stressed in a statement to portal EurActiv.rs published on August 25, ahead of the Western Balkans Summit in Vienna. Capacities of individual economies must be taken into account, Buschle said. „A larger share of renewable energy sources is necessary for many reasons, but we have to accomplish it methodically, in such a way that the economy isn’t destroyed and to avoid unsuccessful investment that end in arbitration,“ he underscored. The Energy Community’s official said ways to lure investment in the sector still need to be devised. Buschle said governments must understand that they would benefit from creating a regional market and that it would enable every country to use its advantages to overcome weaknesses.
Goran Svilanović, secretary general of the Regional Cooperation Council, told EurActiv the potential of biomass for efficient and sustainable power and heat generation remains unutilized. In order for the citizens to feel benefits in this field, it is necessary for strict standards to be implemented for biomass treatment equipment, together with an efficient system for tracking sustainability in the utilization of forest resources and crops valuable for energy, he said. Regional Cooperation Council developed several ideas for energy efficiency projects in coordination with governments of Southeast European countries and the Energy Community, and it presented them to the European Commission, Svilanović added.
In a report published on August 27, on the day of Western Balkans Summit, Climate Action Network Europe argued that the framework of the Energy Union should be used to advance integration in the field of energy and thus bring dirty energy systems of the region closer to EU standards. So far the European Commission has missed important opportunities to stop new, highly polluting coal investments in the region, the document said. EU’s executive arm has only promoted gas infrastructure in the region, instead of tapping into the vast potential of energy efficiency and renewables, said Dragana Mileusnić, author of the report and the organization’s energy policy coordinator for Southeastern Europe. Energy efficiency potential is the largest in Europe, and significant financing is available but not used up, it was noted in the document’s highlights. Furthermore, energy poverty is another major problem, limiting opportunities for households, the report adds.