Compared to the countries in the region, Serbia is ranked the second regarding the consumption of electricity per capita, and the first regarding the emission of carbon dioxide, according to Arne Gooss, director of KfW bank in Serbia. Speaking at an international conference on energy efficiency in public and private sector on October 15, he stressed that 40% of energy in the country is used by buildings, 32% by industry and 28% by transport. The main reason for high consumption is old infrastructure, Gooss stressed. In his words, KfW provides support to the projects which will save at least 20% of energy, and individual loans that can go up to EUR 3 million – for projects such as the development of energy efficiency in thermal power plants and schools.
The development bank’s energy efficiency programme for Serbia already has 12.000 final beneficiaries, he said. The measures account for the reduction in the emission of carbon dioxide of 84.000 tonnes a year, Gooss added. The programme will be extended next year by the Eco-Loan Program with EUR 107 million in funding.
Ambassador of Denmark Michael Borg-Hansen said his country has been recording growth for decades without increasing energy consumption. Since 1990, Denmark has increased its gross domestic product by nearly 40%, cutting energy consumption by 7%, and reducing emissions by nearly 30%, he said. Thanks to energy efficiency, the public sector achieved significant savings and developed the entire industry of materials for smart buildings, Borg-Hansen said.
Between 2006 and 2014, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development invested EUR 16.4 billion in 926 projects under its Sustainable Energy Initiative, said Daniel Berg, the international financial institution’s director in Serbia. He added Southeastern Europe accounted for EUR 3.1 billion in the period. Berg underscored 36 projects were signed in Serbia through 2014 and that EUR 636 million in total financing was committed for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. He added that the investments are expected to lead to savings of one million tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum in the country.
The conference was organized by the Belgrade Fair and the National Alliance for Local Economic Development (Naled). The event was held within the 11th International Energy Fair and 12th International Fair of Environment Protection and Natural Resources (EcoFair), under the auspices of the Ministry of Mining and Energy and Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection. Participants discussed the significance of energy savings aimed at achieving sustainable development, environment protection, strengthening the competitiveness of businesses and improving the standard and quality of living of Serbia’s citizens, Naled said. Ana Brnabić, the organization’s vice president, stressed energy efficiency would be recognized as an energy source in the new national strategy, helping to reach 27% of consumption from renewable sources by 2020. She stated energy efficiency may help in the fulfillment of long-term goals: energy stability, more energy independence and less imports.
Luka Komazec, head of consortium GGE from Slovenia, said most of its agreements were with the private sector, which understands best how every euro is used. Still, in his words, it also cooperated with the public sector through ESCO contracts, which became a standard in Slovenia. Most public buildings nowadays use renewable energy sources such as biomass, Komazec said. GGE’s members are Gorenje, Geoplin and Energetika Ljubljana.
Nataša Đereg from Cekor (Center for Ecology and Sustainable Development) said the countries in the region aim to improve their energy efficiency by 8-9% by 2018, while the members of the European Union have a more ambitious goal – 27% by 2030. „If we do not think about the ways of achieving this right now, we will face a problem, as it is expected that all countries in the region will become EU members by 2030,” she said.