“We want to identify the waste-to-energy potential in Serbia and the need for energy, but also to define the possible route towards succcesful development of energy generation from biogas in line with the existing conditions and regulations,” said Gaetano Massara, head of GE South East Europe, opening the conference ‘Serbian Biogas Market Trends and Challenges’ in Belgrade organized by GE Distributed Power and GE Jenbacher.
The event’s aim was to establish dialogue on production and utilization of biogas, providing information on expenses, challenges and experiences, as well as to bring together all relevant parties, to discuss the best approach towards the efficient energy use and utilization of the available incentive schemes to trigger much-needed power generation projects from biogas.
Case studies were presented about meeting conditions for financial support for projects of this kind, as well as about the development of biogas projects through ESCO model. Topics included implementation of programmes for the removal and processing of organic waste, and the use of biogas in agriculture and food industry as a renewable alternative.
The event was attended by representatives of the Serbian Biogas Association, project developers and engineering, construction and procurement companies, leading agricultural and food and beverage companies, as well as banks and financial institutions. With only a few megawatts of installed capacity in biogas, Serbian biogas market is quite closed as a result of low feed-in tariffs (FiT) that do not secure projects bankability, according to a release on GE Reports CEE. Serbian government has published a draft Decree on Incentive Measures from Renewable Energy Sources, announcing an important increase of biogas FiT, the report adds.
As Petar Gvero, university professor from Banjaluka, pointed out, Serbia is dependent on energy imports yet at the same time renewable energy accounts for only 17.5% of total planned primary energy production for 2015. Out of this, solid biomass accounts for 59%, hydro for 40%, and biogas, wind, solar and geothermal have a share under 1%. Danko Vuković from the Serbian Biogas Association talked about the development of a biogas plant, covering the entire process from idea, selection of location, and application for, and issuance of, the relevant permits. The whole development process usually lasts between two and three years, he said.
The conference also featured presentations and case studies from several representatives of banks, including Svetlana Cerović and Albert Hulshof from UniCredit Bank (Serbia), and Aleksandar Savić from Erste Bank (Serbia). “Since financing schemes in Serbia are not as competitive as in the markets where there is a great experience with such projects, we expect the increase of biogas FiT to boost the Serbian biogas market, which will consequently lead to more experience and more confidence from banks to finance projects. As a result, this will lead to more competitive financing,” GE’s report said.