Recent announcements that Serbia may soon open Chapter 27 of the acquis have greatly influenced local energy sector, which has seriously started considering and applying environmental standards in both current operations and plans for development.
Only several days after the national utility company Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) and the Environmental Protection Agency signed a contract on cooperation with the aim of harmonizing EPS business practice with EU environmental standards, the topics of environmental protection and sustainable energy development have again emerged, this time in the focus of the International Days of Energy and Investment, organized by CEDEF in Novi Sad.
“This excellent event represents the right time and place for exchanging experience and learning about the latest technological advancements in the field of energy and energy efficiency”, said Serbia’s Minister of Mining and Energy Aleksandar Antić at the opening ceremony. He added that wind farms with total capacity of 400 MW are currently in construction on the territory of Vojvodina and should be connected to the grid by 2018.
The participants of numerous panels, conferences and presentations considered the needs and strategies for energy sector development according to sustainability and environmental protection principles. Provincial Secretary for energy, construction and transportation Nenad Grbić announced support for the programs that introduce heat pumps for heating and cooling of public buildings and utilize biomass.
“Our strategic approach is to reduce the costs as much as possible, at the same time aligning with environmental protection and sustainability standards,” said Grbić. On the first day of the event, on behalf of the Provincial government, he signed a memorandum of understanding with the French company ES-Geothermie on exploitation of geothermal sources.
Director of Serbia’s Environmental Protection Agency Filip Radović noticed that the public has become more aware of the environmental protection and climate change importance.
“United Nations estimates that the current migrant crisis will be a child’s play compared to migrations expected due to climate change. It is expected that around 250 million people will be moving from the edges of Asia and Africa towards our continent in the coming decades,” Radović said.
PPP and ESCO – the future of energy efficiency
The energy efficiency topic generated huge interest of both panelists and the audience. Antonela Solujić from the Ministry of Mining and Energy presented Serbia’s national targets in this field, which envisage achieving savings of 9 percent of final energy consumption by 2018. compared to the consumption from 2008, as well as energy rehabilitation of 1 percent of all administrative buildings.
State secretary at the Ministry of Mining and Energy Zoran Predić warned that the average age of boilers, distribution network and substations in the district heating systems in Serbia is between 21 and 24 years. He said biomass is the fuel of the future, but remains underutilized in Serbia.
According to Predić, development of district heating systems will represent better utilization of domestic resources, reconstruction and replacement of old facilities, installation of modern equipment and introduction of combined heat and power plants (CHP).
One successful CHP project was presented by Dušan Macura, manager of the Heat production and distribution sector at the public utility company Novi Sad Heating Plant (JKP Novosadska toplana). This company installed a 10 MW gas-fired cogeneration plant which started working in late August 2016, as BGEN previously reported.
Macura said that the facility has reached in only four months a profit of almost EUR 1.5 million thanks to the state subsidies. The investment worth EUR 6.3 million is expected to be paid off in 17 months.
“We transferred all the benefits from this facility to decrease the cost of energy. Novi Sad Heating Plant reduced heating costs twice last year in order to transfer all the benefit to consumers,” said he.
Nora Gombar from U Light Company presented two successful private-public partnership projects that increased the energy efficiency of public lighting in Ada and Žabalj municipalities. Those were the first two such projects in Serbia and they were implemented as ESCO model.
The key for success of PPP is preparation, both for the municipalities and for the companies, Gambor said. The projects in Ada and Žabalj resulted in 86 and 82 percent of energy savings respectively. Over the next 20 years Žabalj will save RSD 109 million (EUR 881.000) according to current price of energy, while Ada municipality will save RSD 162 million (EUR 1.3 million).