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Mihajlović: Serbia must catch energy transition train as fast as possible

Mihajlovic Serbia energy transition train as fast as possible

Photo: Đorđe Tomić / Balkan Green Energy News

Published

February 22, 2022

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Published:

February 22, 2022

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Faced with an unprecedented rise in energy prices, which is also felt throughout Europe, Serbia can and must accelerate its energy transition process and attract much more private investment in green energy, according to keynote speakers at the Serbian Companies on the Changing Power Market conference, organized by Balkan Green Energy News. Deputy Prime Minister Zorana Mihajlović stressed it is now impossible to stay at the same place and that the country needs to catch the energy train as fast as possible.

The implementation of the Clean Energy for All Europeans package will require substantial changes in the electricity market design in order to make markets more flexible and consumer-oriented in the Energy Community, the international organization’s secretariat Director Artur Lorkowski said in opening remarks at today’s Serbian Companies on the Changing Power Market conference in Belgrade.

Serbia has already made progress by allowing new entrants such as storage, electric vehicles, aggregators and self-consumers, he added, noting that the adoption of implementing acts needs to be completed. Lorkowski revealed that the Energy Community is working on a set of laws on monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas emissions as the first step toward the introduction of carbon pricing.

Crucial legislation underway for Energy Community electricity sector

Together with the European Commission, the secretariat intends to produce a legislative package this year that will allow full integration of the Energy Community contracting parties into the European market, he underscored. In Lorkowski’s view, it will increase competition and price resilience of small, isolated electricity markets in the region, which are prone to price volatility. He particularly pointed to the impact of record energy prices on ordinary people.

The next challenge is to set 2030 targets for energy efficiency, renewables and greenhouse gas emissions, Energy Community Secretariat Director Artur Lorkowski said

“When we talk about the changing energy markets, it must be underlined that Serbia was recognized as a frontrunner in enabling the wholesale market for electricity. It was the first contracting party to establish a balancing market and then organize the day-ahead market, which is still the only operational power exchange in the Western Balkan region. The establishment of an organized intraday market is expected to follow soon,” Lorkowski asserted.

He said the next challenge for the Energy Community including Serbia is to set 2030 targets for energy efficiency, renewables and greenhouse gas emissions. It is the objective for this year as well, Lorkowski said.

Ambassador Schmid: We must weigh surging electricity needs against decarbonization imperative

Progress in the energy transition can be achieved only through close cooperation with the private sector, Ambassador of Switzerland Urs Schmid stressed and warned the public sector alone cannot solve the current challenges, especially the growing demand for electricity for social and economic development. “At the same time, we have the need to decarbonize,” the top diplomat underscored at the opening of the event, organized by Balkan Green Energy News.

Switzerland is supporting the energy transition process in Serbia with ongoing projects worth a total of EUR 25 million, primarily focusing on the decarbonization of the district heating sector, and its government has just approved another EUR 22 million in grants, Schmid said. The entire bilateral assistance platform, which started 30 years ago, accumulated overall investment of more than EUR 400 million, in his words.

Schmid Serbian companies on the changing power market
Photo: Ambassador of Switzerland to Serbia Urs Schmid (Đorđe Tomić / Balkan Green Energy News)

Challenges are global; answers are national

“The changes are here. It is absolutely impossible, regardless of any problems or resistance, to stay at the same place,” Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mining and Energy Zorana Mihajlović said.

By changing practically all the energy laws last year, the government made the first step in the energy transition, which is not easy, she pointed out. “The challenges are global; the answers are national. There is no time to wait,” Mihajlović added.

Mihajlovic Serbia energy transition train fast
Photo: Energy Community Secretariat Director Artur Lorkowski and Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia Zorana Mihajlović (Đorđe Tomić / Balkan Green Energy News)

Serbia can attract much more investment and become a mecca for renewable energy sources, the deputy prime minister claimed. “In the following period, we will see the inclusion of the private sector, which is what hurts many people in our country. I think that without the creation of conditions for much more private investments in energy, above all renewables, our energy sector wouldn’t have a future,” Mihajlović stated.

Serbia can and must catch the energy transition train as fast as possible, she pointed out. Within a month, the government should present six scenarios for the upcoming national energy and climate plan (NECP) for public consultation, according to Mihajlović. The drafting of the Energy Sector Development Strategy for the period until 2040 with projections until 2050 is also underway, which should also set a path for the increase of the share of renewables, the minister said.

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