Although Serbia could get 1 GW in wind farm capacity in the next five years, decarbonization of the power sector dominated by coal is to take place only within one or two decades. The Green Agenda for the Western Balkans can help the implementation of this inevitable and expensive process, which will also bring a healthier environment, according to speakers at the online conference Green Economy – Raising the Value of the Serbian Market.
A few days ago, the Western Balkan countries signed the Sofia Declaration on the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, committing them to a series of actions. The Green Agenda is a part of the European Green Plan, the EU’s strategy to become climate neutral by 2050.
Sam Fabrizi, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia: The Green Agenda will accelerate the transition in Serbia
The green economy is first and foremost a matter of priority. If Serbia puts climate change on top of the agenda, investments will be needed from the budget, from the international financial institutions, the European Union. It is crucial to set energy transition as a political goal in order to implement it. Serbia’s starting position is weak and needs to be improved, which is exactly the purpose of the Green Agenda – to speed up the transition.
Serbia signed this document in Sofia, which demonstrates the political will, but now the implementation must follow. Serbia should accept that the green economy is not a luxury, but something that can create new jobs and that the use of coal is not the future.
EPS needs to decarbonize its operations by 2030, 2040
Dragan Vlaisavljević, executive director for electricity trading at state power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS), said the region is slowly becoming aware of the European Green Deal and the obligations it carries. They are not only technical requirements, which are the least challenging, but also financial and they will affect customers – the households more than the industry.
Vlaisavljević also said that two sectors within the power utility have ambitious goals.
In order to carry out decarbonization, EPS must increase economic and technical efficiency
The production sector or power plants of EPS will be decarbonized by 2030 or 2040, so milestones should be defined along the process. Decarbonization requires a financial capacity, so the company must increase its economic and technical efficiency in order to be able to implement it, Vlaisavljević said at a conference organized by Adria Media Group.
Another sector, EPS Distribution, will get a major role as the distribution system operator because it becomes the market pivot.
Vlaisavljević said that in five years in Serbia around 1.5 GW of wind power plants will be connected to the grid, and added that it means about 1 GW of new power plants will be built, all without subsidies.
The investors are only interested in solving the balancing issues and nothing else, he added.
Zorana Mihajlović, Minister of Mining and Energy: Decarbonization is coming
The environment is the most important, so producing energy is not the most important issue, but that it must be green. In order to prepare for the Green Agenda, we are moving ahead with legislative changes. The Green Agenda brings one thing that will be very important in the coming period, and that is decarbonization. In Serbia it is about lignite, so we will slowly turn away from it.
This is not just about the Paris Agreement and the EU directives, which we have committed to implement, but about the fact that it is good for us to have a healthier environment.
When will Serbia provide regulatory framework for prosumers?
Miroslav Lutovac, adviser to the president of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, mentioned another possibility for the expansion of green energy capacity. He said that businesses are ready to participate in the energy transition, but there is no valid legislative framework, meaning it is good that the new minister announced laws would be changed.
Businesses could initially provide 50 MW in solar panels
Serbia is lagging behind the world in solar energy, he added. As a good approach in the energy transition, Lutovac pointed to distributed generation, which involves the installation of smaller energy sources, such as solar power plants on the roofs of companies and households.
Solar panels on household roofs have a huge potential
If only a thousand firms use their rooftops or other surfaces to install solar photovoltaic panels of up to 50 kW, Serbia will get a total of 50 MW, which is not small capacity, and it is very easy to do that.
The country should focus on motivating companies to use the opportunity, he said.
If the approach is applied by households, even with much smaller installed capacity but with a larger number of PV systems, it would secure a much bigger gain. The cost of installing PV panels is acceptable, and the technology is affordable, Lutovac said.
Vlaisavljević greeted the proposition but said that the citizens will have to wait for state authorities to change regulation and allow them to become prosumers.