After the upcoming transitional period of subsidizing renewables with market premiums, solar will become the main driver of electricity market liquidity in Serbia, according to Maja Turković, Vice President of CWP Global for Serbia. Over the next ten years Serbia “can and must” develop 1 GW of solar capacity for electricity generation, she said at the First Big Conference on Solar Energy in Serbia.
The main purpose of the new regulatory framework, which includes changes to the law on energy and other legislation, not just the adoption of a law on renewable energy sources, is not to ensure state subsidies, but to create conditions for the development of a market, according to Turković. The objective is for the state to eventually abandon support schemes and for all producers to compete in a free market, she said.
Noting that Serbia was about to get its first-ever law on renewable energy sources, Turković said that by-laws are also expected to be adopted to define the procedure for market premium auctions for renewable energy producers.
Serbia already has investors and significant capacities in various stages of development
She said that there is enormous interest around the world in renewable energy projects in Serbia, but that Serbia also already has investors and significant renewable energy capacities in various stages of development. In that sense, Serbia is in a better position than some other countries in the region, which have yet to adopt a regulatory framework to attract them, she noted.
Technological progress has made prices of electricity produced from solar competitive with other sources
The first wave of renewable energy investments in Serbia was tied to feed-in tariffs, because the high levelized costs of production required incentives, which were considerable. However, that is now over, she said, adding that technological progress has brought about a dramatic fall in the cost of photovoltaic technology, making it possible for solar power plants to produce electricity at prices competitive with other energy sources.
Gaining land use rights for large-scale solar facilities will be among major challenges
Talking about the challenges that lie ahead for the solar industry, Turković said that they will no longer be about economic viability, but some other limitations, such as the possibility of gaining land use rights for the construction of large-scale solar capacities. This, according to her, will require changes to the law on agricultural land and the law on planning and construction.
These limitations can also be about the network, such as the ability to connect a facility or to ensure the delivery of energy into the grid. And, of course, there will be some environmental requirements, which should always be kept at the very top of the list of priorities when undertaking projects of this kind, Turković said.
CWP Global is one of the biggest investors in wind farms in Serbia, and has recently started developing solar projects as well. Including its capacities in Romania and Australia, CWP has to date delivered 1,525 MW of renewable energy capacity, with financing totaling EUR 3 billion, in what helped avoid emissions of 18.6 million tons of CO2.
In cooperation with partners, CWP is currently working on a project to develop the world’s largest power plant, called the Asian Renewable Energy Hub – a hybrid plant consisting of wind turbines and solar panels and the world’s biggest green hydrogen and green ammonia hub.