Electricity production from coal power plants in all nine Energy Community contracting parties has been reduced by 13% to a five-year low last year while carbon emissions from fossil fuels fell 11%, according to the newest edition of the Energy Transition Tracker.
The share of renewables in the generation mix of Albania, BiH, Georgia, Kosovo*, Moldavia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Ukraine grew, with 979 MW of solar photovoltaic and 611 MW of wind added, while biomass capacity grew 2.5 times.
The tracker’s authors conclude that although no formal policy, measure or decision was put in place to reduce electricity production from coal, both the production and its share in total produced electricity in the Energy Community significantly dropped in 2021.
The secretariat said the data from 2021 point to positive trends in terms of progress made by all contracting parties
The decrease in power production from coal is mainly driven by the problems in aging power plants. A good example is Serbia, which reported a decrease of 11.4%, while its power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) mounts losses.
In its comment on the 2021 data, the Energy Community Secretariat said they point to positive trends in terms of the progress made by all nine contracting parties in reducing electricity production from coal and boosting renewables.
Looking only at 2021, the Energy Community region headed in the opposite direction from the European Union, where production from fossil fuels increased – it jumped 25.6% in the category of ‘other bituminous coal’ category, and 16.2% from lignite.
Natural gas-based production reached a five-year high
It is similar in the natural gas sector. Last year the EU produced 524 TWh from gas, compared to 552 TWh from 2020.
Natural gas-based production in the Energy Community reached a five-year high, as the use of the fuel for power production increased in Moldova, North Macedonia, Serbia and Ukraine. The increase was the highest in North Macedonia, where its share grew from 15% in 2017 to 29% in 2021, the tracker reports.
In Serbia and North Macedonia, consumption was driven by the growth in use in cogeneration plants, and the new 194 MW facility in the Serbian city of Pančevo.
Self-consumption has taken off
According to the tracker, total installed capacity increased by 1.9 GW (2%), mainly due to new plants based on renewable sources, with 979 MW of solar photovoltaic and 611 MW of wind added. Although the quantities in absolute terms are not significant, biomass capacity grew by 2.5 times mainly due to new biogas plants in Ukraine.
Self-consumption has taken off, resulting in 33,718 active self-consumers across the contracting parties with a combined installed capacity of 934 MW in 2022, the tracker reads.