The EU has launched a technical assistance project worth EUR 2 million to bring district heating to eight municipalities in Kosovo*. Once completed, the project will see eight new district heating plants constructed and one rehabilitated and expanding the network with 150 kilometres of new pipes and bringing district heating to 1.2 million people.
As it currently stands, district heating systems are present in only four municipalities in Kosovo*, and account only for 3 to 5 percent of in the heating of spaces. Only one of those systems is currently in operation in Prishtina. Other cities, like Peja, Prizren, Ferizaj, and Gjilan do not have district heating systems, despite having large urbanised areas and collective residential buildings.
The project to upgrade district heating to Kosovo* is worth more than EUR 160 million
But the WBIF (Western Balkans Investing Framework) project titled “District Heating Systems in Kosovo” aims to change that. Its total value is estimated to around EUR 160 million with the main funding sources expected to come from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
A technical team from IPF 10 will support the development of plans.
The EUR 2 million grant is meant to support the preparation of a feasibility study for district heating based on renewable energy in eight municipalities of Kosovo* — Gjilan, Ferizaj, Prizren, Peja, Drenas, Obiliq, Mitrovica, and Zveçan.
“The outcome is expected to contribute to the decarbonisation and economic development of Kosovo*, as cleaner sources of energy will be explored, in line with the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans and the EU Green Agenda,” said Konstantinos Mastrogiannopoulos, Country Manager at EIB.
Current heating systems do not pass muster
As the WBIF notes in their press release, current heating systems are not suitable for collective residential and service sector buildings. They have a substantial negative effect on both air quality and public health. The feasibility study in question should introduce the possibilities using environment friendly and local available primary energy sources with different technologies and distribute the heat through highly efficient district heating systems.
Security of supply and energy efficiency expected to improve
Some of the municipalities such as Obiliq and Drenas are in favourable areas — near the Kosovo B power plant and the smelting factory Feronikel — and could be connected to cogeneration systems or utilise energy arising from the smelting process. In Mitrovica and Zveçan, obsolete systems will need to be rehabilitated in order to serve increasing demand.
The Kosovo* government has already recognised district heating as an important part of its energy strategy and the feasibility study now being financed is meant to help Kosovo* rehabilitate the capacities in Mitrovica and introduce new district heating systems in the other cities.
Thus, Kosovo* will be able to increase the security of supply, energy efficiency, diversify energy sources, reduce air pollution, and improve quality of life.