USAID Clean Energy Investment Project, Renewable Energy Association within the Chamber of Commerce and the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Balkan Renewable Energy Program organized the 6th Renewable Energy Stakeholders’ Forum in Skopje. The forums represent a new mechanism for public private dialogue in the field. They gather stakeholders in the area, including project developers, investors, representatives of relevant ministries, agencies, academia, non-governmental organizations and international donors.
Within the first panel, called ‘Financing and insuring renewable energy projects’, experiences and opportunities for financing and insuring the construction and operation of small power plants in Macedonia and in the region were presented. Representative of the local NLB Tutunska banka stressed positive experiences in financing renewable energy projects, which was decisive for the decision to continue allocating own or funds from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for this type of projects. Representatives of Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania and the IFC gave the regional financing perspectives, emphasizing the uncertain or incomplete legal framework in the energy sector and the investors’ overestimation of project’s return on investment (ROI) as biggest risks for the creditors. A local insurance expert explained why and what investors should insure.
Second panel, ‘Investments in biogas and biomass as alternative energy sources – potentials and experiences’, focused on the current state of affairs and the potentials of biogas and biomass as alternative energy sources in Macedonia. The initial presentation provided general statistical data and forecast for investments and electricity production. A representative of Elektro Sharri, the first biogas power plant in Macedonia, presented their experience and plans for the future, while a professor from the Forestry Faculty gave an overview of the biomass sector and technology, as well as the issues potential investors have to deal with to enter this market.
Presentations and discussions, as was the case with the previous forums, might lead to taking specific initiatives to improve the legal and regulatory framework for investments in this area.