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The Balkan region has been affected by the energy crisis of 2022 as a whole, especially in its western part. The main issues in this context have been the rise of electricity prices, as well as those of biomass, technical problems at coal plants, a lack of water for hydropower, and skyrocketing biomass prices, with a huge impact on the economies of the region and the citizens. Moreover, the already high levels of pollution grew because of the exportation of coal-based electricity to the EU. At this point, countries in the Western Balkans need to find a new approach and focus on renewable sources.
Decarbonization is indeed inevitable for those nations, but the main challenge in this context is the financial side of the energy transition. Unlike the EU member states, many of the region’s countries do not have access to the Next Generation EU funds or the ones coming from the European Green Deal and the European Regional Development Fund. It is thus crucial for those governments to find opportunities for financing by financial institutions or private actors that could be interested in investing in the local markets.
Still, every country in the Western Balkans set out their agendas for decarbonisation and energy transition. In this context, North Macedonia initially chose 2027 as its exit date, then revised it to 2030, willing to rely on renewables, especially solar energy. The authorities in Skopje highlighted the huge flow of investments on solar plants in North Macedonia, which aspires now to become a regional hub for renewable sources. Also Bosnia and Herzegovina, which already plays an important regional role as an exporter of electricity, wants to maximize its energy production from solar plants, with projects from public companies and private firms close to 500 million euros. As for Serbia, the government approved the Incentives Plan for the Use of Renewable Energy Sources for the Period 2023-2025, with the target of totaling 3,000 MW from alternative sources within several years.
Written by: Francesco Marino