EBRD reiterates commitment to Western Balkans decarbonization

EBRD reiterates commitment to Western Balkans decarbonization

Photo: EBRD


February 27, 2024





February 27, 2024


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EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso said the bank would continue scaling up its activities in the region and pointed to the need for reforms to attract private investment and use EU funds from the Growth Plan for the Western Balkans. On the sidelines of the Western Balkans Investment Summit in London, Serbia signed an agreement on a EUR 3 million grant for introducing renewable energy sources in district heating.

The sixth Western Balkans Investment Summit was held in London at the headquarters of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), with prime ministers of the countries of the region and other top officials. The international financial institution’s President Odile Renaud-Basso commended the governments for improving coordination, saying it has allowed many more important regional transport and energy projects to be prioritized.

“We at the EBRD look forward to working closely with the European Commission and the governments of the region in implementing the EU Growth Plan for the Western Balkans… We intend to continue scaling up our activities in the Western Balkans, leveraging on our network of six offices and 150 professionals on the ground to help countries to deliver on reforms and investments, particularly in the areas of green transition, skills, inclusion and digitalization,” she stated.

Much more investment can be unlocked if reforms are implemented, Renaud-Basso said

Renaud-Basso urged attendees to accelerate the green transition, pointing to investments in renewables, electricity grids and energy efficiency. They will help strengthen the region’s resilience to future energy shocks and its competitiveness, the EBRD’s head added.

“We are doing everything we can to unlock more investment in the region. But we can attract much more of it, if reforms are implemented,” she stressed, highlighting the conditions for funding from the EUR 6 billion Growth Plan for the Western Balkans.

Serbia to double production of district heating from renewable sources

At the sidelines of the event, Minister of Mining and Energy of Serbia Dubravka Đedović Handanović signed an agreement on a EUR 3 million grant for the Renewable District Energy Serbia (ReDE Serbia) project. EBRD approved it in November.

The activities are implemented in 10 cities and municipalities. The project is worth EUR 40.5 million, of which EUR 10.5 million in grants, according to the minister. With the help from the EBRD, Serbia will start using solar thermal systems, geothermal energy and heat pumps in district heating

“In Bogatić, we plan for the coal-fired boiler room to be replaced with the use of geothermal energy for heating, and one in Novi Pazar with a heat pump utilizing waste heat from the waterworks. In Kruševac, a heat pump will enable waste heat from the wastewater purification system to be used in the district heating system. By implementing the projects that we are planning with the EBRD, we would double the production of heat from RES,” Đedović Handanović revealed.

Among other solutions, the local authorities will use solar thermal collectors.

The ministry and the EBRD also signed a letter of intent on continuing the cooperation in conducting auctions for market premiums for renewable electricity this year. The second round, with a 400 MW quota available in total for solar and wind power plants, will be held this year, Đedović Handanović said.

In the auction plan released last June, the government said it would award 100 MW to developers of photovoltaic projects and 300 MW for wind farms by the end of March of this year.

Strengthening cooperation with Albania, Kosovo*

EBRD is providing a EUR 98.75 million sovereign loan to Albania for the rehabilitation and electrification of the 120-kilometer railway line between Vora in the country’s central part, near Tirana, to Han i Hotit on the border with Montenegro.

The agreement was signed during the event as well. The EUR 373 million project is cofinanced by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Union through the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF), which is providing EUR 128.8 million in grants and technical assistance support of up to EUR 12.1 million.

Furthermore, EBRD signed a memorandum of understanding with Kosovo* on infrastructure upgrades, the green economy transition, regional integration and the private sector.

The cumulative value of the potential projects is estimated to reach EUR 400 million by 2027, the bank said.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/99 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
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