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Serbia’s renewable energy landscape

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In Serbia, the focus on wind farm development surpasses that of solar power plants due to their increased attractiveness and profitability for investors, according to local experts. Currently, wind farms in the country have a total capacity of 510 megawatts, with expectations of a nearly 40 percent increase by the end of the year, as stated by the Minister of Mining and Energy, Dubravka Đedović Handanović.

On the solar energy front, the capacity has reached 100 megawatts for the first time, expected to rise to around 150 megawatts by year-end, a significant increase from the 20 megawatts two years ago. While there’s notable growth in solar energy capacities, they still lag behind wind farms.

Over the past 20 months, significant improvements have been made to the regulatory framework, opening opportunities for renewable energy sector development. Through auctions and commercial projects, wind farm capacities are expected to see substantial growth beyond the initial 510 megawatts, according to Minister Đedović Handanović.

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Additionally, Elektroprivreda Srbije has initiated projects such as the wind farm “Kostolac” and the solar power plant “Petka” to change its production portfolio.

For sustainable integration of new large capacities from renewable energy sources, the construction of the reversible hydropower plant Bistrica, supported by the Japanese government, is crucial. This project aims to add 646 megawatts to the grid in about five years, facilitating the integration of large-scale projects like a gigawatt of solar power plants by 2028.

With the number of electricity buyers-producers increasing from 410 to over 3,000, and capacities rising from six to over 50 megawatts, Serbia is enhancing its regulatory framework for consumers. Support includes subsidies for installing solar panels, benefiting over 500 prosumers. Furthermore, amendments to the Energy Act are underway to introduce the concept of an active buyer, fostering a favorable environment for market engagement by companies.

Despite financial challenges compared to EU members, Serbia is strategically planning its energy transition to ensure responsible development that benefits the energy system, citizens, and economy. The transition aligns with international obligations while fostering a sustainable future for the country.

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According to energy expert Željko Marković, investors favor wind farms due to their ability to produce electricity at night, unlike solar power plants, which operate only during daylight. Additionally, oversaturation of the European solar market has driven down daytime electricity prices, impacting investor interest.

While guaranteed electricity prices are offered to investors participating in auctions, concerns arise about the post-15-year period when these prices may no longer apply. This uncertainty prompts the need for additional investments in solar capacity in the long run.

Ultimately, as favorable locations for wind farms become scarcer and the installation of wind turbines becomes costlier, investors may increasingly turn to solar capacities for accessibility and cost-effectiveness.

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