Swiss government signed with the Ministry of energy and mining and four local governments a donation agreement worth CHF 8.9 million for the improvement of energy efficiency of 24 public buildings in Serbia, mostly schools. This money will be spent for the woodwork replacement on windows and doors, facade refurbishment and heating systems improvements.
Four Serbian municipalities and cities (Užice, Vrbas, Paraćin and Kruševac) will use this grant for the energy efficiency refurbishment of 18 schools, 6 kindergartens and 2 health institutions. The donation is granted to Serbia and chosen municipalities and cities as a part of the Energy City Project Serbia, which follows Swiss Cooperation Strategy for Serbia for the 2014-2017 period.
After signing the agreement, Swiss ambassador to Serbia Philippe Guex said that energy efficiency is a priority goal in Swiss cooperation with local governments in Serbia:
“This project of energy efficiency and energy management is a key project for us because it has an interface role between the national level, where energy efficiency targets are set, and the local level where the implementation takes place. Four municipalities will get advice and energy policy recommendations, according to the Swiss-inspired energy saving model “European energy award”. This model has been applied in 1.300 municipalities across 11 countries”.
Energy efficiency is cutting costs
The mayor of Užice, Tihomir Petković is expecting significant reduction in heating cost as a result of this project:
“From the total donation budget, the city of Užice will be granted with CHF 2.2 million to be used for improving energy efficiency in six public buildings. So far, we have chosen four buildings, three schools and one psychiatric hospital. The expected savings for the heating range from 30 to 50%. The biggest savings will be in psychiatric ward, some RSD 3-4 millions annually, and in all 6 buildings combined, we expect to save around EUR 100.000 per year”
Four municipalities will also participate in project financing with additional CHF 1.2 million. Energy efficiency improvement programs are not solely financed by donations: according to Serbian minister of energy Aleksandar Antić, the Government has already established Energy Efficiency Fund. So far, some 50 Serbian municipalities received money from that Fund.
Philippe Guex said that the Government of Switzerland is currently preparing a new cooperation strategy for Serbia for the period 2018 – 2021., but energy efficiency will remain their priority. Switzerland has already committed to donate EUR 1.2 million and CHF 500.000 for the construction of a biomass combined heat and power plant (CHP) in Padinska Skela, located in Belgrade’s municipality of Palilula.