By 2020, Serbia should increase energy efficiency and reduce dependency on oil and gas imports. It ought to increase the production of energy from renewable sources by 20% and reduce emission of carbon dioxide into atmosphere by the same percentage, thus increasing the level of environment potentials. Investment in renewable energy sources represents a chance for Serbia’s’ development and investment potentials are very high – two billion EUR at least for a period of between five to seven years, deputy director of the Agency for Energy Efficiency, Bojan Kovačić, says. More from Jelena Milenković.
Investments in renewable energy sources are to amount to between 300 and 500 million EUR in the next two years and the five-year investment potentials should be at least five million EUR. The participation of energy obtained from renewable energy sources should be increased by 2.2%, by which amount the use of bio fuels should be increased as well. In order to realize that, it is necessary to improve the process of harmonization of Serbian laws with EU ones, said Kovačić, adding the process would be completed in 2011. It is also necessary to simplify the procedure for investments in the energy sector.
The improvement of energy efficiency is a priority of the national sustainable development strategy through 2015 and one of the prerequisites for admission of Serbia to the EU. A rational use of energy can be implemented at various levels. If the level is higher, that means we have become more efficient as a state, explained Kovačić. He specified that in the following nine years Serbia could catch up with developed countries, but only if we take action immediately. The money invested in the green economy pays back tenfold. Up to 70 million dollars can be saved in the industrial production annually, says Kovačić.
The highest potentials lie in investments in wind and hydro power plants and hydro thermal sources and in biomass pallet production, says Kovačić. Investments and the modernization of the Serbian energy sector is supported by many EU member-states, including Germany. German Ambassador to Serbia Wolfram Maas said that the Serbian potentials in pure fuel sources total some 4.3 million tons of oil equivalents, which is half of the total use of energy in Serbian households. Support to Serbia is extended by the USA as well, which is financing projects contributing to a higher competitiveness of our country and a higher employment rate, said US Ambassador in Belgrade Mary Warlick. A guide for investors in renewable energy sources in Serbia has been published. It was financed by USAID and GTZ – German Development Fund.
The Ministry of Energy has so far issued licenses for the building of wind power plants of 1,500 MW, in the most windy areas in Serbia – eastern regions, southern Banat and Mt Zlatibor. Two mini hydro power plants are being built on the Vlasina river, in eastern Serbia, one of which should be opened towards the end of 2011 and the other towards the end of 2012. The most progress has been achieved in the sphere of small hydro power plants and in the use of biomass in village households. The use of solar energy has just begun, in some central and southern Serbian regions. The Chinese state corporation CND has announced they will invest 30 million EUR in the building of a solar power plant in the town of Kikinda, in northern Banat.