“Lack of good energy policy leaves us under threat of poverty and unemployment, and health risks,” said Aleksandra Tomić, chairwoman of the Serbian Parliamentary Energy Policy Forum, opening the body’s third meeting in the form of a public debate on the Proposal of Energy Development Strategy until 2025 with projections until 2030. The House of the National Assembly hosted the event.
Mirjana Filipović, state secretary at the Ministry of Mining and Energy, said the draft strategy represents “a wish list” and that an implementation plan will be the next important document to be adopted.
Janez Kopač, head of Energy Community Secretariat, based in Vienna, stressed the way forward is accepting regional projects and utilizing domestic potentials, as there are not going to be any projects such as South Stream. He said Yugoslavia had an exceptional energy concept and that “dust should be wiped off those projects.” Kopač underscored the security of supply has emerged as the most popular issue from the trinity it makes with competitiveness and sustainability, former major focal points for policy in the European Union.
Branko Kovačević, head of the Supervisory Board of the Electric Power Company of Serbia (EPS), told participants of the debate that the strategy needs to include global changes in the energy sector, namely decarbonization. This means lignite-fuelled power plants, the source of most electricity in Serbia, will be shutting down, at an unknown scale or speed, he said. Kovačević, also the dean of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Belgrade, added energy efficiency is an industry in the making, and that a country should decide if it wants to buy technology or participate in its development.
Closing the initial debate, Sonja Licht, president of Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, said that five years into debates she participates in Serbia still has no wind power plants, even though “it cannot afford not to have them.”
At a round table for renewables and energy efficiency, Miloš Banjac, assistant minister of energy, said Serbia cannot give up on lignite but that it can use it more efficiently and with cleaner technology. He stressed the national potential of green energy is 50% of its consumption.
Gaetano Massara, regional chief executive for General Electric, insisted the government should adopt power purchase agreements for the renewable energy sector, as there is high risk that investors could leave the market. The state’s planned incentives are prudent and it wouldn’t be a good move to lower tariffs before the construction of wind farms with an overall capacity of 500 MW, set by obligatory quota for the share of power from renewable sources, he underscored.