Renewables

Just transition roadmap sought for coal town in Kosovo*

Just transition roadmap coal town Kosovo Obiliq Obilic

Photo: Babaroga / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/legalcode.en

Published

December 8, 2023

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Published:

December 8, 2023

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A contractor will be picked through a public call to produce a socio-economic analysis and just transition roadmap for Obiliq (Obilić) in Kosovo*. The company will be tasked with listing coal phaseout challenges and propositions for introducing clean technologies, but also examine the possibility of mining other materials.

Both coal-fired thermal power plants in Kosovo* are in the municipality of Obiliq (Obilić), together with accompanying open pit mines. The facilities are the backbone of the energy sector. Kosovo A and Kosovo B account for 90% of power production.

The government in Prishtina is making efforts to diversify the entire sector, aiming to boost the share of renewable sources in gross final energy consumption to 32% by 2030. The energy strategy for the period until 2031 includes a goal to add 1.3 GW in wind and solar power capacity, of which at least 100 MW from prosumers.

The goal is to define technically feasible and socially acceptable pathways for the transformation of the coal region

Decarbonization implies the closure of the two coal plants and mines, which will burden not only the town, located on the outskirts of Prishtina, but also the entire surrounding area. Within the framework of its International Climate Initiative (IKI), Germany tasked GIZ – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit with implementing the program Capacity Development for Climate Policy in the Countries of Southeastern and Eastern Europe, Southern Caucasus and Central Asia, Phase III (CDCPIII).

The international cooperation agency issued a public call for a contractor that would produce a study identifying the challenges and potentials that Obiliq will face once the political decision and timeline towards an energy transition are settled. The goal is to define technically feasible and socially acceptable pathways.

Five candidates to be allowed to participate in tender

Until December 15, companies and consortia interested in the job can apply to participate. GIZ said it would then invite five candidates with the highest scores to the tender.

The deadline for submissions is scheduled to expire on January 8 and the contract should be awarded by the middle of the month. The assignment lasts until the end of June.

Through CDCPIII, GIZ is developing measures to analyze when and how to transition the energy system, lay out options for how to make it feasible and just for the municipality and its people, and raise awareness and inform, according to the tender documentation.

Project includes raising awareness among decision makers

In the socio-economic analysis and just transition roadmap for Obiliq, also known as Kastriot or Kastrioti, the contractor will assess the impact of the energy transition and coal phaseout on the coal region, develop a roadmap and recommendations and strengthen the understanding of decision makers in Kosovo* about just transition potentials.

It needs to examine the possibilities for deploying energy technologies such as hydrogen, energy storage, carbon capture and storage and solar thermal systems. Interestingly, the selected company will also need to look into the potential of mining other materials. Among other requirements, it will analyze risks for disputes over land, water and labor, GIZ pointed out.

The contractor will analyze risks for disputes over land, water and labor

The impacts of transforming specific coal regions have been analyzed for other Western Balkans countries including discussions of repurposing sites and the qualifications of workers. While there are several studies focused on technical aspects including renewables, grid, the national energy producer and targets in Kosovo*, the impact of the energy transition on the coal-reliant region and its people is yet to be determined.

Most coal plants in the Western Balkans are old, inefficient and largely unreliable. Building such facilities is economically unfeasible because of upcoming carbon taxes including the European Union’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism. In addition, the countries of the region are obligated to decarbonize their economies by 2050.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/99 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
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