Opening the market implies an increase in electricity bills and the government must make sure it happens gradually, Energy Community Secretariat Director Janez Kopač warned members of the Assembly of Kosovo*. He stressed all efforts should be directed to renewable energy and that there is no future for coal-fired power plants.
Regulatory bodies for state aid in Kosovo* have started to investigate state support in the coal and renewable energy sectors, Energy Community Secretariat Director Janez Kopač said in his presentation of the progress in the implementation of the Energy Community Treaty. Speaking to parliamentarians via a video link, he recommended the introduction of a tax on electricity generated from lignite.
A tax on electricity from coal should be used to protect vulnerable communities, Kopač said
The scheme should be designed so that the levy gradually increases and the revenue is directed to vulnerable communities, he added. Opening the market will lead to a rise in prices of electricity for households, but growth must take place over a longer period of time and with small rather than drastic increases, or else “a revolution” may happen, according to Kopač.
Not big steps but real steps
“Every serious politician must take steps forward. Not big steps but real steps,” he said, as quoted by Kallxo.com. There is no future for coal-fired thermal power plants and all efforts must be directed to renewable energy, Kopač stressed.
Carbon wouldn’t be fully priced overnight
Kosovo* has the highest share of coal in energy production, 90%, and the highest carbon dioxide emissions per capita in the Western Balkans, the head of the Energy Community noted. He reiterated that the price of CO2 and its equivalents are above EUR 50 per ton in the European Union and pointed out the said tax would double power prices.
However, the change can’t happen overnight, Kovač acknowledged. In the recommendations, the secretariat said Kosovo* should adopt a climate law with clear and binding responsibilities for decarbonization in line with the Sofia Declaration.
Planning, legislation need to be accelerated
It should also establish a just transition fund and introduce quotas for renewable energy auctions, the document reads. Kopač underscored the importance of making a plan for the decommissioning of coal power plant Kosovo A and tapping on international funding to rehabilitate Kosovo B “immediately.”
As for market liberalization, he said the Energy Regulatory Office has delayed the market opening for customers connected to 35 kV and 10 kV since 2018.
Kosovo* should “immediately” draw international funds to rehabilitate the Kosovo B thermal power plant
In December, Kosovo’s State Aid Commission found that the feed-in tariff scheme for the support of photovoltaic plants with a total capacity of 20 MW was illegal. Kosovo* is moving away from feed-in tariffs to a market-based support scheme, but the process needs to be accelerated, Kopač stressed.
The secretariat recommends a moratorium on building small hydropower plants. It said air quality could be improved with the introduction of a congestion charge for cars entering the center of Prishtina and the promotion of efficient household stoves.