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Serbia presents draft National Energy, Climate Plan

necp serbia public consultation pks

Published

July 11, 2023

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Published:

July 11, 2023

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The Ministry of Mining and Energy has invited all interested parties, not only from Serbia, but also from neighboring countries, to join the public consultation and submit comments on the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan for the period to 2030 with projections until 2050, and the accompanying Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment Report on its implementation.

The first presentation of the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (INECP or NECP) and the Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment Report was held today at the premises of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia (PKS) in Belgrade. The remaining ones will be organized tomorrow in Novi Sad, and on Friday in Niš.

The public consultation on the NECP and the report last from June 13 to July 28 and from June 22 to August 5, respectively. The process includes cross-border consultation with neighboring countries.

More than a hundred representatives of energy companies, ministries, banks, the University of Belgrade, embassies, non-governmental organizations, and experts gathered at the presentation in Belgrade.

The most concrete questions and comments came from NGOs. They suggested that the NECP did not tackle some important strategic issues, including the planned introduction of an emissions trading system and the European Union’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), a CO2 border tax set to start being phased in in 2026.

Đedović: NECP will affect all of us, not only the public sector

Photo: Emilija Jovanović

Minister Dubravka Đedović said the ministry is open to suggestions and added that the plan concerns everyone in the country, not only the public sector, but also citizens and companies. She argued that as many participants as possible should join the public discussion.

She emphasized that the NECP is one of the most important strategic documents defining the energy transition process. The ministry, in her words, wants to hear opinions, suggestions, and proposals that would contribute to the creation of a document of the highest quality.

The final draft is planned for September

She expressed the expectation that a final draft would be prepared in September and proposed for adoption in the fall. The Energy Development Strategy until 2040 with projections until 2050 is also in the pipeline.

“Our key goals include increasing the share of renewable energy sources in electricity production to 45%, boosting energy efficiency, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40.3% from the 1990 level. It implies the construction of new production capacities, including solar power plants and wind farms with a total capacity of 3.4 GW, and a new gas power plant with a capacity of 350 MW,” she said.

The 1.7 GW target for solar power includes the capacities that will be installed by prosumers.

According to the document, the target for the share of renewables in gross final energy consumption is set at 33.6%, and for the gross final electricity consumption at 45%.

The plan defines more than 150 measures

Đedović stressed that the plan contains more than 150 measures, of which almost 70 reforms, and added that necessary investments until 2030 are estimated at EUR 27.4 billion.

She pointed out that Serbia cannot change the energy mix and reduce the large share of coal overnight, and said it would take decades.

The EU and Serbia share similar goals, but don’t have the same starting positions

Although Serbia has the same goals as the EU countries, the fact is that the two sides do not have equal starting positions, neither when it comes to the mix, nor when it comes to finances, the minister underscored.

“For decarbonization and a successful green transition, it is very important that we, like EU member states, have the support of the international partners, the EU, and financial institutions to make this process financially sustainable and socially just,” Đedović said.

The establishment of a regional fund or national funds for a just transition modeled on similar EU mechanisms was recently discussed at an informal ministerial meeting of the Energy Community, she noted.

The plan was presented by experts from LDK Consultants

The NECP was presented by experts from LDK Consultants. Of note, the document is being developed within the IPA project Further Development of Energy Planning Capacity, funded by the EU and implemented by LDK Consultants in consortium with the Centre of Renewable Energy Sources and Saving (CRES).

Milenko Jovanović, one of the founders of the National Environmental Association (NEA), backed the plan but suggested that it wouldn’t be good for it to be implemented by the same people and the same political group that led to the energy collapse in December 2021. Therefore, he expressed doubt that the plan would be executed.

The ministry’s representatives replied that the authorities enabled the preparation of the plan and added they are ready to listen to all suggestions.

RERI: What about the emissions trading system, carbon border tax?

Representatives of the Regulatory Institute for Renewable Energy and the Environment (RERI) claimed the NECP did not provide the answers to all strategic issues. According to them, it is not clear whether Serbia has decided to introduce an emissions trading system (ETS), how the government would respond to the upcoming CBAM carbon border tax, and what the coal exit deadline year would be.

Officials from the Ministry of Mining and Energy replied that Serbia has no obligation to roll out an ETS because it is not a member of the EU.

NECP can still be changed after adoption – there is room to adapt it with any potential changes, they added.

Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment Report: Most of the negative impacts will be local and limited in time

Photo: Emilija Jovanović

Experts from LDK Consultants also presented the Report on Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment. Violeta Erić said the document defines the positive and negative impacts that the plan could cause and the measures to increase the former and decrease the latter.

Positive impacts include improving the quality of the environment due to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, driven by increasing the use of renewables and the deployment of clean technologies in coal power plants. Among other factors are afforestation, the use of new technologies in agriculture and a significant rise in recycling, composting and incineration of waste.

According to Erić, negative impacts will mostly be the result of the construction of solar power plants and wind farms. They include a change of purpose and the occupation of large areas of land, large amounts of e-waste, the effect on the protected ornithofauna and chiropterofauna, and what to do with the blades from decommissioned wind turbines.

Certain negative implications can also be expected from the construction of large hydropower plants.

But most of the negative impacts will be local and a limited duration, the document reads.

“The implementation of the relevant legal and regulatory framework, responsible planning and implementation of activities in line with the best international practices and the application of preventive and mitigation measures are expected to significantly reduce all negative impacts,” Erić said.

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