Western Balkans are facing energy supply issues alongside a surge in prices. At the same time, the countries of the region didn’t fully use the opportunity to include local communities, citizens and businesses in decarbonization and the deployment of renewables. Local sources can significantly contribute to the security of supply and achieving energy independence, and increase the production and consumption of green energy.
In order to speed up the use of the potential, the Regional Center for Sustainable Energy Transition – RESET and the Heinrich Böll Foundation, in a media partnership with Balkan Green Energy News, have announced the conference Energy Community of Citizens/Communities of Renewable Energy. It will be held on December 8 in Sarajevo.
The event is aimed at opening dialogue and providing recommendations on how to accelerate the process and make the energy communities of citizens an important factor in efficient energy transition and decarbonization. The topic is even more relevant given that the energy crisis won’t end this winter.
Miljević: The countries of the region have adopted or are preparing regulatory frameworks for energy communities
Damir Miljević, an energy transition consultant and member of RESET, says that over the previous year the countries of the region such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia have adopted or are in the process of adopting regulations to enable local communities, citizens and firms to establish energy cooperatives.
In BiH, the Republic of Srpska and the District of Brčko have adopted necessary laws and are in the phase of preparation of bylaws, while the Federation of BiH is still drafting legislation.
Miljević says the process is only beginning and that it is necessary to establish a dialogue with countries that have advanced in the process and the countries in the region, to share experiences.
Stakeholders also need to establish long-term cooperation for a successful and sustainable implementation of energy communities, in order to speed up the process and inform and educate the public about the advantages of accelerating the efforts, said Miljević.
Experiences from Croatia and Greece will be presented
Guests from Croatia and Greece will present their experiences. Representatives of local communities in BiH, the country’s ministries, regulatory agencies, and power companies will attend the event. The representatives of the nongovernmental sector, international organizations involved in energy transition projects in BiH, business and financial organizations, and local experts will participate, too.
The conference will consist of four panel discussions
The first panel is dedicated to Greece, which has advanced the fastest in the region in the implementation of the concept of civic energy communities, followed by a discussion on Croatia’s experiences.
Participants at the conference will offer recommendations to accelerate the development of energy communities
The third panel will provide an overview of the situation in BiH: how far the country has advanced in the preparations to introduce energy cooperatives and what is needed to make them a reality.
The last panel discussion will cover the support schemes that are needed for the development of energy communities.
The conference participants will adopt conclusions and recommendations for all stakeholders for the introduction of energy communities as soon as possible in the energy transition in BiH.
The conclusions and recommendations from the gathering, according to Miljević, can serve to create appropriate solutions, measures and instruments for the development of energy communities of citizens in other countries of the region.