Renewables

Energy transition is no partisan issue but global one

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Photo: Balkan Green Energy News

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May 14, 2024

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Published:

May 14, 2024

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Representatives of companies with large renewable energy portfolios in Southeast Europe emphasized at Belgrade Energy Forum the critical importance of modernization, infrastructural development, and enhanced knowledge at the local level. At a panel discussing the path and pace of progress towards a carbon-neutral future, speakers said the energy transition requires massive investments and that political leaders must understand it is not a partisan issue but a global one, and that everyone has to follow the same course. The two-day conference is organized by Balkan Green Energy News.

WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson noted that 19% of electricity in the European Union comes from wind farms and that investors are now confident they can generate stable income.

He commended Serbia for enabling investors to achieve stable income through contracts for difference (CfD), awarded in wind and solar auctions. The government has set pragmatic prices, Dickson said, noting it would make no sense to set prices too low for the industry to deliver, as then wind farms would not be built.

The wind industry supply chain in Europe employs 300,000 people

According to Dickson, the EU is clear on the need to ensure massive deployment of wind farms. This is the essence of the action plan adopted last October and the basis for the European Wind Charter, signed by 26 member states and more than 300 companies across the entire supply chain, he asserted.

Giles-Dickson-WindEurope-BEF-2024
EU seeks to prevent an increase in dependence on non-European energy, says WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson

Dickson said the wind industry supply chain in Europe is robust, consisting of 250 factories that produce wind turbines and components and employ 300,000 people, with more manufacturing facilities under construction.

The EU seeks to prevent an increase in dependence on non-European energy sources, he underscored, noting that the bloc was reliant on Russian gas and now wants to avoid replacing that dependence with another.

Strict criteria for the manufacture and use of wind turbines are important for national and data security, Dickson added.

The debate was moderated by the Secretary of the Group of Experts on Gas in the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Branko Milićević.

Branko Milicevic UNECE Belgrade Energy Forum
Gas expert from UNECE Branko Milićević moderated the discussion

Akuo Energy: Massive investments are needed

Antoine Guimard, Akuo Energy’s COO for Central Europe, said it is apparent that power grids, especially in Southeast Europe, are not yet sufficiently developed and fit for the energy transition. This, according to him, calls for massive investments that must be global and distributed among all countries.

Another challenge is to make political leaders understand that the energy transition and climate change are not a partisan issue, but a global one, in his view. On that journey, which will last until 2050, five or six different governments in each country will have to follow the same course, Guimar warned.

Political leaders must put the energy transition before other issues and internal disputes, he said and pointed out that they are the key actor who can either deliver or put a stop to that process.

Five or six consecutive governments in each country will have to follow the same course of the energy transition

Asked how to accelerate the transition, he opined there is no time to wait for a nuclear program, and that the answer lies in hybridization, as is the case in Portugal.

That would ensure stability in electricity production and make it cheaper, said the representative of Akuo Energy.

WindEurope’s CEO also backed hybridization. This can be easily made possible with regulatory changes, which has already been done in Spain and Portugal, he stressed and recommended that Serbia do the same.

Akuo Energy operates in 30 countries around the world, including the Balkans. The French company is in talks with North Macedonia on a strategic partnership to build the Stipion solar power plant, of over 600 MW, and is also working on projects in Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

BEF-2024-Akuo-Antoine-Guimard

Antoine Guimard from French company Akuo Energy warns that the power grid in the Balkans is underdeveloped

Alcazar Energy: Western Balkans should attract investors

Asked how the Western Balkans could benefit from the transition, Alcazar Energy Managing Director Daniel Calderon highlighted the examples of Turkey, Morocco, and Jordan. The three countries decided to attract investors and make it possible to create sustainable jobs, so they increased the capacity from renewable sources by many gigawatts, he explained.

This, according to Calderon, is also possible in the Western Balkans. He noted that Alcazar develops projects around the world, and that it also focuses on working with local communities, so that jobs remain there. It turns out this way of doing business is profitable, he pointed out.

In the Western Balkans, Alcazar Energy is currently developing wind farm projects with a combined capacity of almost 500 MW. The company has acquired the Bijela wind farm project in Šavnik, Montenegro, with a projected capacity of 118 MW and an estimated investment of USD 200 million.

Alcazar-Daniel-Calderon-BEF-2024

Calderon (Alcazar Energy): Turkey, Morocco, and Jordan set examples of how to create sustainable jobs within the energy transition

Masdar: Developing new projects in Serbia

Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co. (Masdar) from the United Arab Emirates invests in photovoltaic capacities in more than 30 countries around the world. Finland-based Taaleri Energia is its partner in the Čibuk 1 wind farm in Serbia and other investments in Europe, and they also intend to build Čibuk 2.

Serkan Ata, Senior Manager for Development and Investment at Masdar, said the company relies on the knowledge it has already acquired in Serbia, but is also focused on developing new projects.

Masdar-Serkan-Ata-BEF-2024

Serbia’s government has helped create an adequate business environment, says Masdar’s Serkan Ata

He said that the Government of Serbia has greatly contributed to the creation of an adequate environment for business. Masdar looks forward to the announced further improvements to the investment climate, according to Ata.

Masdar aims to reach 100 GW of capacity in the next six years, by 2030.

Ata admits the goal is ambitious, but says the company has already done a lot on that path. Masdar’s projects include the installation of CO2 storage facilities in the Middle East and floating solar power plants in Central Asia, as well as the recently commissioned 2 GW Al Dhafra solar park in the UAE.

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